Today was a mind blowing day. For some reason, I felt it was necessary to drop the clubface behind me as I started the downswing. Patrick laid down alignment sticks on the ground to show me what I was doing. In essence, I was coming into the ball from about 8:00 if noon was the target. Once I came in, I couldn’t save it so I flipped it over. Ideally, I should be coming in at 6:00 of 6:30, not 8:00.
It feels so weird to see the clubface coming into the ball at 6:00. To me, this feels and looks like it is completely over the top. Remember, I have always feared over the top because this is what caused me to lose distance and play bad golf in the past. Patrick explained that over the top is completely different than what I think it is. If I can come in around 6:00 I am actually going to hit a draw.
Once again, this is so weird to me. I feel like the club is coming in from about 4:00 when I do it. Patrick asked me why I did it that way and I explained I felt my hands should get the club behind me because I want to come inside out. He said to think as if my hips were my hands. This cleared up some things, but I was still mentally broken in terms of understanding how to actually hit the ball if the club is on the target line as we approach impact. How was I going to get the club to the ball from 6:00? I know I needed to go “outside” my shaft line to get to the ball, but it seems impossible with all my past golf knowledge.
After playing around with it a bit I figured out that I was allowing my left lat to relax once I reached the top of the backswing. You know how much I have talked about the left side and left lat being important in the backswing? I completely let it go and allowed the club to drop and my shoulder folded on the backswing. I get to the very top of my backswing by truly engaging my left lat and squeezing it as much as possible then I simply let it relax. Bad Jesse!
If I can keep my left lat engaged and “tight” through the top of the backswing and into the downswing, I cannot bring the club inside my hands and/or body coming into the ball. Basically, I am squeezing my lat under my air pit and using that as the pivot with the swing.
Patrick explained that on the downswing, my right hip can be used the way in which I was using my hands. This means I can feel into going back behind me slightly before dipping and turning down the target line. When I do this, I really need to activate my right lat and allow that to complete the swing. The left side and right side are so very important in the golf swing. Don’t forget to keep the left lat activated and tight once you activate the right lat.
After digesting this information I tried some practice swings and I think I have figured it out. If I keep my left lat engaged and my left shoulder “open” even into the downswing, I feel as if the club is going to slide right under the ball. To do this, I allow my right side, obliques, to start the downswing and as I approach the ball I feel the club outside the shaft path. It feels as if I am swinging to right field. This only happens when I have completely engaged the left lat throughout the entire downswing. If I soften it or let it go, the club falls behind my right hip and there is no way I can save it.
By playing around with this, I can feel the back of the left shoulder, my left lat, being the fulcrum of the golf swing. All other things not considered, it feels like I can actually swing the club around my body and get some power behind it. I never realized it should feel like the club is sliding under the ball at impact. It looks and feels like I am slicing butter with my clubface.
Just after impact I can see the triangle with my arms. I know I need to work on getting my left elbow to soften and keeping my right elbow in, but overall, I think I better understand what I need to do with the downswing. I also realized the swing path is determined by the right hips, obliques and lat. The more I engage those and let them complete the downswing, the more “inside” the club gets. Remember, “inside” to me is completely foreign because I tried to get so inside using my hands and allowing my left lat to soften. Patrick explains it as “coming under” with the right side. The more you “come under” with the right side, the more you can hit a draw.
Now, keeping the left lat engaged and the left elbow soft, I use the right hip as I did with my hands and the clubpath line is much closer to the target line. This still looks every “outside” to me, but it is much better.
So, what I learned is the importance of keeping the left lat activated on the downswing. Let’s remember the importance of this and the way to get the club closer to 6:00 I use my right obliques and right lat to come under as I get closer to impact.
UPDATE: Wow! Wow, oh wow. I am now 126 lessons in as of mid May 2020 and I am still getting the understanding of the club face coming in on the target line. Until you practice and take several hundred lessons, you really have no idea how the club should come into the ball. Patrick has had me doing his practice chipping motion for months now to help me get the understanding of the left lat keeping the shoulder open and the club coming into the ball as close to the target line as possible. It is interesting to read this lesson from January 2019 as Patrick was explaining Calculus while I was in basic Algebra.