During lesson #15, Patrick confirmed what I figured out with the knee movement causing the hips to turn on the downswing. He explained that it is perfectly fine for your right knee to actually push “behind” the left knee as the entire right side of your right foot stays on the ground. It may look weird as your shoe will look like you are rolling onto the inside of your right foot. In essence, you will end up wearing out the inside of the left side of your right golf shoe.
Patrick also made certain that my backswing continued to improve by using the large muscles of my back to complete the backswing and not my arms. Almost all amateurs use their arms to get the club to the top of the backswing and this is not correct.
When I took the club away it felt like my left hip was “collapsing”, the inside of my left elbow would lead as my left lat moved the club into the backswing. The more I could feel my back moving the club, the better my backswing. Patrick has continued to explain the golf swing is a reverse figure eight. Most amateurs do it the wrong way as they go inside going back and come back over the top. You should actually go back “outside” and come back inside. So, how can you do that?
Once you get to the top of the backswing, the feet and knees move the right hip. This will cause the club to drop into place. Once you are to the top, and you must be to the top, the right knee moves inside the left knee and the right hip starts to rotate. It is best to do this very slowly to get the feel. If you do it fast, you are going to find that you push off with your right foot which sends your right knee forward instead of toward your left knee and the target.
As you move your right knee toward the back of your left knee, you will notice the hips rotate toward the target, your right shoulder drops and you are able to keep turning. This is the uncoiling of the golf swing that you hear so much on TV. Most amateurs just drop their hands and arms as their right knee pushes straight out towards the ball sitting on the ground. The right knee should go towards the target, not the ball on the ground.
After learning all of this from Patrick I went to the range and finally felt what lag was. If you are truly lagging the club, it feels like you are basically throwing or flicking the ball off the clubface at impact. The clubface will be behind your hands and you will likely think the ball is going way right the first few times you do this. Instead of going right, it starts a bit right and then draws back to straight. It is an amazing thing to see if you have never been able to do it.
As someone that has hit lazy fades or slices his entire life, it is wonderful to see the ball stay straight and start to draw when it comes off the clubface a little bit right.
I still have plenty of training to do before my next lesson, but we were starting to see drastic improvement. The goal over the next few days was to work on footwork and make certain my backswing begins and ends with the left lat doing the work. I always allow the arms to get involved and that causes my swing to break down. Interestingly, the more the left lat works the swing back, the deeper my body goes, but it looks like the club is actually shorter. While this may be the case, it doesn’t matter because the speed of the swing comes from the core not the distance the club moves from the top of your backswing. Keep this in mind when you lift the club above your head and past parallel with your arms.
There is a reason that guy with the shorter swing can outdrive you by 40 yards even though you hit the clubface on your left hip on the backswing. It is tension and torque that is important, not distance of the club.
Something else I figured out recently is the importance of your elbows being inside your shoulders and hands. The way I describe it is there is a string from your nose to your hand. As you go back, the elbow on your left arm should be “inside” that string. On the forward or down swing the right elbow needs to be inside the string attached to the right hand. Ben Hogan explained to keep your elbows as close together as possible or think about wrapping strings tight around your biceps to keep your elbows in.
While this is important, one must remember to not “think” about the arms on the backswing. The more you think about the arms, the more you are going to use them. This will make your backswing more tense, which will shorten it. If you think about your hands and arms, you are going to flex those muscles and will not allow your left lat and back to rotate the upper body around the lower body.
UPDATE: Geez! This was just the beginning of me learning yet also overthinking the golf swing. I am now 114 lessons in at the end of March 2020 and I am still leaning some of these parts of the golf swing. One thing to note, The feet should not start the downswing. The feel should be soft throughout the entire swing as you are not going to push off with them at all.
It is so much fun to read some of these old journal posts now that I have a much great knowledge of the swing and how to hit the ball. Back then, my footwork and legwork were a huge problem as I was still trying to create power by pushing off with my right leg. I didn’t pull that bandaid off until the of summer 2019. You will hear more about that in later journal entries.