After a week away from Patrick and golf lessons I realized I could get to the ball but not through the ball. This is something Patrick mentioned during the last lesson when I started to hit the ball very well. He was shocked with how far I was hitting it by only getting to the ball. Prior to my lesson with Patrick I warmed up focusing on getting my backswing completed and full. I was hitting it extremely well but knew there was another step I was missing.
When I told Patrick I was getting to the ball and not through it he immediately had the remedy. Remember, after getting to the top of the backswing, yes, make sure to get to the top, you start the downswing with a slight movement on the lower right obliques or some would say the right hip. This gets your hips back to level. You then keep your arms relaxed and use your lower right obliques to start the downswing. Just as the club is starting to come down here is where the magic happens.
As my hands got to what felt like my shoulders, Patrick pushed the lower part of my right lat which accelerated the club through the ball. It feels very steep but as Patrick explained, the angle we set at address allows the body to shallow the club. We do not use the hands and arms to shallow the club. How many times have I mentioned that we should not be using the hands, arms and shoulders in the golf swing? Well, now it all makes sense.
The body creates the small circle inside and the golf club creates the larger circle outside. When you use the lower part of your right lat to push through, down the target line, the club comes into the ball perfectly. The first time I did this I hit my 8 iron about 165 yards with a three yard fade. And I missed it!
After doing some training exercises with Patrick he challenged me to hit the ball. I assumed I was going to come “over the top” and hit lazy fades. Instead, I was coming into the ball from the inside and hitting it very hard. My first three or four were very thin but going forever. I was hitting thin 8 irons about 165 yards.
Patrick explained that I was hitting it thin because I was getting just past the ball and not continuing the swing with my right lat. Even through the ball the right lat will continue to push the downswing to the top. If you don’t continue to use your lower right lat, your arms are going to take over and pull the club to the left. As soon as he pointed that out I used my right lat through the entire swing and absolutely destroyed the ball. My 8 iron went well over 170 yards in the air. It is very important for the lower right lat to feel as if it is staying on the target line as long as possible through the downswing and finishing the swing.
When doing this correctly, the legs feel completely different. As you start the downswing and the right lat takes over, as you go through impact your left leg is going to straighten and your right knee is going to push towards second base. I know we are going to work on keeping my right foot on the ground as long as possible but for now it feels like my legs are making a triangle with the ground being the base of the triangle. On a recent broadcast, Nick Faldo explained that you should see as little light as possible between your legs when you are looking from behind a player swinging.
Some golfers, especially those that come over the top, push off with their right foot and push straight towards the ball instead of towards the target. If your right knee is going towards the ball on the downswing, you are doing something wrong. Your right knee should be going towards second base. Your left knee may try to completely straighten but if you have a full backswing your left knee will stay slightly bent. This will allow your hip to “survive” the golf swing. If you have a short backswing, your hip will likely pop on the downswing because it cannot get out of the way.
We are getting so very close to completing the golf swing. Right now, I have to be extremely patient as I am getting super excited. I know there are many more aspects of the swing to learn but it is so nice to see the ball flying high, long and with a five yard draw. This is something I have worked very hard for.
When working on the downswing, I also better understand the important of the backswing and getting to the top. The top of the backswing is the exact same thing as the completion of the golf swing. The left lat really needs to push the club to the top of the backswing just like on the follow through of the downswing, the right lat is pushing the club.
I know I have completed a good swing when my left lat pushes all the way to the top and my right lat pushes my body to the point in which it is completely twisted. I feel very long and my lower back is getting “pulled”. I am extremely broad in the upper back and the lower part of both lats are ignited.
It took me six months to realize what Patrick was talking about when he said the power of the golf swing comes from the core, meaning the left side pushes the club to the top of the backswing and the right side accelerates the club through impact and to the top of the follow through.
Very, very exciting stuff. Now, I have to wait a few days to actually hit balls because the weather does not look good. Every lesson with Patrick in the next few weeks is going to be crucial to my golf game.
During this lesson, for the first time I was extremely relaxed when hitting the ball. Patrick and I actually chatted about random stuff while I was hitting balls. It was an amazing feeling.
UPDATE: Well, it is now June 2020, I am 131 lessons in, and I am still learning the importance of the drive the left side on the back swing and the drive with the right side on the down swing. What I did not grasp during lesson #32 was the importance of the legs not generating power in the way I thought. The legs stabilize the body as the upper body rotates around the lower body. It took me several months to understand this. In fact, I am still learning how to take my legs out of the golf swing.
I also did not know that the right side maintains on the backswing and then the left side maintains on the downswing. Some would say “holds off” or “resists” but Patrick likes to say maintains the angle. I still struggle with this as I want to pull with my right lat on the backswing and pull with the left lat on the downswing. This causes no resistance or torque which basically means no power. Ahhh, try to figure that out.