After one of the toughest lessons, in terms of understanding the swing, I had another eureka moment. Or, as Patrick said, “the light bulb finally went off.” On the backswing, I was setting the angle and using my right side and getting into my lat at the top, but I was just letting it go when I started the downswing. There is no point in setting the angle if you are just going to let it go.
Since the last lesson, I have really worked to get to the top of the backswing with my back very broad. I do this by really flexing what feels like the lower part of both lats. If I can really feel the left lat pushing the club to the top of the backswing, the right lat will activate. When both lats are activated, it is imperative to keep them “flexed”.
I also worked more on getting the club a little bit more to the inside on the way going back. Note that this is not to the inside that most amateurs think. Remember that I have trained my left arm to be going straight back for months so now it is acceptable to feel myself going a little bit inside on the way back, even though it is not inside.
Now that I have an understanding of the swing, Patrick explained that the concept is there, now we simply need to refine it. There is more than just setting the club, flexing your lats and then rotating. On the downswing, the right shoulder is going to fall behind the right hip. You can use your arms to get the club down incorrectly or you can allow the club to fall behind your right hip.
This is still hard for me because I want to use my hands and arms to get the club down from the top of the backswing. Once the right hip and right obliques cause the right shoulder to fall behind the right hip you must use the lower right obliques to get your body though the ball. To me, it feels like the right side naturally falls down and as the club gets closer to the ground the right obliques must work to move the midsection through the ball. Note that this must be done while also keeping the right lat activated (making the shoulders broad). If you tell this to any amateur it will be rocket science. It is now something I am confident I will be able to do in a few weeks.
Patrick allowed me to hit a few balls while training my swing and I must say that I am hitting it great. My 8 iron is now going well over 150 yards and it is truly effortless power. This is without even getting my right hip and obliques through the ball. There are times when I can feel it, but it is still a little foreign to me. When I do get my right hip and right obliques through the ball, I absolutely destroy it.
The polar vortex is going to make it extremely cold this week so I am going to have to train inside and likely not swing a club that often. Patrick told me to do a lot of practice exercises with my arms across my chest and working on the first part of the downswing. When doing this, I get to the top with my left side and left lat, I then allow my right obliques to start moving toward the target while my right shoulder falls behind my right hip. If I can feel my right shoulder opening even more during the start of the downswing, I know I am doing it right.
When I have a club in my hand, the club will end up on the target line but it will be behind me if my downswing starts correctly. If I allow my right shoulder to start the downswing, the club will be on the target line but it will be closer to my belt buckler rather than behind my right hip.
Ahhh, the challenge of the professional golf swing is something. I am very pleased with my progress but know I still have a long way to go. Patrick has said that I now get the concept of the backswing and downswing so it is not going to be long before I start hitting the ball very well on a consistent basis.
UPDATE: This is another fascinating read from the golfer that is now 127 lessons in as of May 2020. While all of this information was a valuable part of the process, there was still so much more to learn. I was obviously hitting the ball well, but I was still using my legs to generate power. Over the summer of 2019 Patrick put salt on the wound of my legs doing too much in the golf swing. I often wonder what would have happened if I simply went back and played golf with more of a turn but still using my legs. We will never know.