Over the last week I started to realize just how much my right arm, especially my elbow and shoulder, are activated in the golf swing. Eventually, we are going to take the arms completely out of the swing but that is many months down the road. Patrick took it to a new level today with getting me to turn.
He explained that we are going to continue to focus on keeping the club on the target line as long as possible. The only way to do this is to truly use the left lat. Every time I think I am using the left obliques and lat Patrick shows me just how much more I need to use them.
To start the backswing we worked on opening the left shoulder. If feels as if the top of the left shoulder is falling toward the target and the left lat is pushing down the target line away from the target. Remember, this must be done while not engaging the arms or hands. I am also slowly working on getting the left wrist hinged but that is going to take time and is not a major focus right now.
So, allow the top of the left shoulder to fall back, push the left lat and completely open the shoulder. This feels very foreign now but when I do it correctly I can tell there is much more power.
Once the shoulder is open and you start pushing back with the left lat, you must continue to engage and support the shoulder all the way to the top of the backswing. For me, I really have to feel as if my right elbow and right shoulder are “dead” throughout the backswing. If they engage at all, they want to take over. Patrick explained to me that I was a very right arm dominate golfer when I came to him the first time. That seems like years ago at this point.
Patrick twisted and turned me to the point in which I got sore during the lesson. I have a very long way to go when it comes to getting the backswing full, but we are making progress. One step at a time.
I did hit a few really good balls but recognize that we haven’t even started to discuss the downswing. Over the next few days I really need to work on opening the left shoulder and getting the left lat to stay engaged all the way to the top of the backswing.
Something else Patrick mentioned was the feel to pull the arms closer to the body as the club gets to the top of the backswing. He explained this is showing that you are not using your left side to complete the swing. When your arms take over they want to pull the hands back towards the body. If you are truly engaging with simply the left side you will not feel the need for the arms to pull closer to the body.
Lots of practice to do before my next lesson.
UPDATE: We are now in April 2020 and I just completed my 122nd lesson and I still work diligently to not lift with the right arm. For almost a decade my entire golf swing was my right arm and driving with my right leg. Today, we are focused on the backswing with the left side, especially the core, and allowing the body to turn to get to impact rather than driving with the right leg. It is a night and day difference in terms of how I get the club face to the ball.