Lesson #24 – January 11th, 2018
Today was a very cold day. It was around 40 degrees. Fortunately the wind wasn’t blowing and the sun was out. Over the last few times hitting balls I think I stumbled upon something by keeping my head tight or towards the target on my backswing. By doing this, I can feel myself get to the top of the backswing and actually start the downswing with my hips rather than pulling with my hands and shoulders. Patrick confirmed that I do have head and spin movement away from the target. He also explained that this is fine because we have to get the turn before we worry about that.
He is still twisting and turning me into places I have never been. I am getting much closer to a full backswing but still have a few more weeks to go. Most of my lessons are now Patrick pushing my body to its limit on the backswing.
He also mentioned that I can start thinking about keeping my right eye lower than my left eye as I get to the top of my backswing. By doing this, I can hit the ball so much better. It is amazing how far the ball goes when you hit close to the center of the club face.
At this point, Patrick has explained to me that I am trapping the ball rather than compressing it. If you truly compress the ball, you will not see the green marks on the club that you see when hitting off mats. You will simply see a very thin green line on the back of the club. The entire cavity should not be covered with green. Patrick pointed out that most amateurs that get to a 2 or 3 handicap are trapping they ball, they are not compressing it.
While it feels so much better to hit the ball this way, I have been warned that I am not to fall in love with this feel. I am basically getting the club to the top, leaving my hands there and “pulling” with my right hip. While this is a step in the right direction, the goal is to rotate with the right hip rather than pull with it.
I also have a huge problem of engaging my right elbow and right shoulder at the top of the backswing. It is going to take a lot of practice to make certain my right arm is not getting active in the golf swing. I am starting to hit some draws with my 8 iron but Patrick explained that my right arm is still very active. Over the next two months we are going to work on deactivating the right arm and shoulder and using the hips to get the club on plane.
I know that the arms should not play a major part in the swing but every time I have a breakthrough I go back towards an “armsy” swing. This is going to be my common fault as I have always had an armsy swing. Fortunately, Patrick is there to explain to me the ways in which I can use my core to move the club rather than my arms.
We are getting closer and closer with every lesson. Patrick is speeding up the process because I have a trip to Streamsong in May 2019. As soon as I told him that he has started to push me harder than he ever has. It will be interesting to see just how long it takes to get a downswing that allows me to compress the ball rather than trap it. It truly is amazing how long it takes to learn the golf swing. As soon as you think you have it figure out, there are 10 other things you need to adjust. Fun times!
UPDATE: So, Nathan, Dan, Brian and I never went on that trip to Streamsong as Nathan had to pull out for work. I am glad we didn’t. There is no way I was ready to play those courses in May 2019. It is now May 2020, I am 123 lessons in and I am still trying to make my right arm more passive. It is crazy to full grasp how long it takes to get to the root of golf swing issues. I honestly don’t know anyone else that could go through this process. I am thankful to have the patience to do it and understand Patrick wants to root fundamentals, but man does it take a very long time.