This was Mikaila’s first lesson. Patrick solely worked on her posture as she has too arched a lower back which is the exact opposite of me. She is going to work on that over the holiday break.
After playing around with the backswing and trying to figure out when to tuck my right elbow, I finally had the opportunity to ask Patrick some questions. I definitely started to hit the ball better by keeping my right arm straighter throughout the backswing. A bad habit of mine is to tuck the elbow and then lift the club with the arms. If I don’t tuck my elbow early, it forces me to use my left side to get the club to the top of my backswing.
I also realized that I am not at the “top” of my backswing unless I feel as if I am “jerking” at the very end of the backswing. I know this isn’t correct, but it definitely allows me to hit the ball better. I now know what it feels like to get the heel of the club to the ball before the toe. It is also the case that I am starting to compress the ball. Let’s see what Patrick has to say.
Patrick noticed me “jerking” at the top of the backswing and mentioned it was a very quick transition. He explained that this is common as most amateurs do not know how to properly get to the top of the backswing. This is how he explained it.
My take away is very good. I can actually keep the club out in front of my chest a lot longer and not think about dragging it on the ground behind me. If I do that, I am going to get stuck. So, I take it back with my lower left oblique and push with my left side which opens and broadens my left shoulder. Once I feel the club start to go up, about halfway up my body, Patrick explained that I need to really use my left lat to push back.
Instead of dragging the club on the ground to get the club back, it is done as late as possible on the backswing. When the grip of the club feels like it is around my right hip, the club face is well in front of my hands and I start to push it back with my left lat. The goal is to continue pushing with the left lat until it feels like my left shoulder is pointed straight down at the ball. If I get to the top of the backswing, I am very torqued.
The one issue I have right now is I have to keep my right knee from collapsing and pushing backwards. Every time I push with my left lat, I sway and allow my right knee to break down.
Over the next few days I am going to practice really getting the turn with my left side. As Patrick explained, it is going to take time to get the left lat to ignite because it has never been used this way in the golf swing.
I went to the UNC Finley driving range and hit some very good shots with this new swing. When I was trying it with Patrick, at Old Chatham, I was hitting it off the heel and shanking the ball. When I went to UNC Finley, I had much better timing and I was hitting it very, very well. Patrick has continued to explain that timing is going to be an issue when adding new elements to my swing. There is no reason to think I am going to immediately start hitting it well when I am going back in a different way than I am used to.
UPDATE: Well, in December of 2018 I was finally starting to understand that the left side (especially the left obliques) creates the backswing. It took me another 14 months to really understand it. We are now in April 2020 and Patrick is very pleased with my backswing. My best backswings are when I allow the back side of my lower left obliques to start the backswing and then drive with my left lat under my left shoulder to finish the backswing. I am still working on folding my right elbow at the top of the backswing, but it gets better with every lesson. So, it took about 115 lessons to have a quality backswing.