Over the past week I have hit the ball extremely well at the range. In fact, I went a little out of my comfort zone and hit a 6 iron just to see what would happen. To my amazement, it came off the club the exact same way and just didn’t rise the way an 8 iron does. So this is what happens when you hit the golf ball correctly? Oh my.
It rained a lot over the past week so I wasn’t able to hit balls that often. In fact, I didn’t think I would get a lesson in all week but the Old Chatham range was open even though it rained several inches in the last few days. I really needed a lesson so I am glad the range was open.
After hitting a few balls Patrick said we need to readdress the backswing. I wasn’t getting sloppy, but we need to continue to make it better. He made sure my hips were rolled forward, my chest was out and I was “long” or tall at address. Going back, he continues to make me feel as if I am falling forward but now I really need to focus on my lower obliques turning to start the backswing. If I do this correctly, my left elbow feels as if it is facing the ground by the time by arms gets to parallel. Both of my elbows feel as if they are facing the ground and I could put a basketball on top my arms, above my elbows (and it would hold) when I get halfway through my backswing.
I really need to work on getting the lower obliques to engage all the way through the mid obliques. I have a habit of going to the lower obliques straight to the lats. I am missing out on the middle and upper obliques which makes my backswing not as smooth. It also doesn’t allow my backswing to get around me. It feels like it is “behind” me but a better way to think about it is around me. If I am using just my lower obliques and my lats, the backswing is almost straight back instead of round.
If I do a really good backswing, it feels my shorter, but my arms, especially my left arm, stay straighter. I have a bad habit of the arms bending too much because I am using them to lift. My left side needs to support my arms if I want them to stay straighter and longer. Note that I am not hyperextending my left arm. I am working to support it and allow it to stay long and somewhat straight.
When getting to the top of the backswing I really need to engage through the middle and upper obliques to get to the lat. If I can get all the way to the lat, I have a great shoulder turn.
From here, we are continuing to do the same thing with the lower right oblique leveling the hips, the lower obliques moving toward the target and then we need to focus on the middle and upper obliques just like on the backswing. In similar fashion to the backswing, I like to go straight from the lower obliques to my lats. When I do this I get a little bit steep and I do not complete my circle. Once again, I cannot get the club all the way around me.
So, the big takeaway from this lesson was I really need to focus on engaging my mid and upper obliques on both sides to make the backswing and downswing a little bit rounder. I can already feel it is making the swing smoother.
I asked Patrick if it was ok to get “too” much leverage or have the left shoulder pointing down too much. He explained that as long as the arms are not creating the angle and leverage, it will not hurt. Remember, the right shoulder is going to want to replace the left shoulder on the downswing. The more leverage that is created, the more power there is going to be in the swing. Also, the body is going to shallow the swing if you properly use the lower obliques, mid obliques and upper obliques.
While I know I am getting closer and closer to hitting the ball extremely well, there is still much to learn with each lesson. If Patrick didn’t want me to become a great golfer, I am certain he would have already let me play again.
Over the next several days, there are going to be many practice swings making certain the mid and upper obliques are getting the club to the top on the backswing and through the ball on the downswing.
UPDATE: We are now 132 lessons in as of June 2020 and we are still working on getting the core to turn on both the backswing and the downswing. My obliques and lats do a good job but I tend to skip the step with my core. This is especially the case on the downswing. Each and every lesson is a step in the right direction but it takes a lot of patience and flexibility to hit the ball correctly. I still haven’t played a full round of golf in well over a year but it will be well worth it in the long run.