Today was Mikaila’s second lesson and my 36th lesson. In Miami, we went to TopGolf and I had a bit of a breakdown because I started to use my arms and come over the top again. Today, I refocused my efforts on getting my left side engaged and allowing it to get my swing to the top on the backswing. Something that allows me to feel my left side much more is to make certain my right shoulder stays on the target line as long as possible. It feels as if my right shoulder is fighting against my left side or pushing toward my left hip. This allows me to use my left side to push the club to the top of the backswing.
When it was my turn to work with Patrick I asked him why I couldn’t get down to the ball. He said, let’s try this. He held my club as firmly as he could on the downswing as long as he could before he actually let it go. It felt like the club got lower and stayed more “behind” me than when I actually swing the club when hitting the ball. After a few of those practice moves he then allowed me to get to the top, start the downswing and pushed on my upper right lat while pulling my left shoulder open at the same time. This is him talking about keeping the chest broad through impact which no one does. After several of those practice exercises Patrick allowed me to hit some balls and I did really well.
Patrick also put his leg on my left leg so it didn’t slide forward or straight through impact. The left left actually stays on the target line a lot longer than I would have ever expected. It also stays slightly bent and the right side pushes the entire upper body and chest to the left of the target. When Patrick really pushes me, my chest is pointing way left of the target and my knees are on the target line. The hips are open but they also feel like they are closer to the target than my chest. This makes sense when you look at the body after the correct swing is completed.
So, my practice is going to be to continue to keep my right shoulder on the target line on the way back allowing my left side to really push me to the top of my backswing. This is a great turn for me. I also feel as if the middle of my back is pushing through my chest when I get to the very top of the backswing. I then slowly start the downswing with my lower right obliques. After that downswing starts, the right lat engages and forces the right shoulder to drop behind the right hip. From there, I feel the right lat push my chest open and the left shoulder opens. If I do it correctly, the finish of the downswing feels as if the the club is going straight up and to the sky.
I also feel as if the left leg is going to start playing a very important part in the downswing. I need to keep the left knee bent and much more on the target line than I have kept it in the past. When I do this, I feel a huge twist with the upper body as the club moves to the finish of the swing. I need to remember to focus on allowing my right lat to push under and towards left field rather than allowing my arms to do it.
My last swing of the day, Patrick said, “that is the best ball I have ever seen you hit.”
Mikaila did a great job during her lesson as she is extremely flexible. Her shoulder turn is amazing. She is going to be very good, probably better than she even realizes she can be.
The Hasentree-Prestonwood Ryder Cup this weekend so I will have to deal with the Hasentree guys but I am in a very good mental place. I won’t be able to actually hit balls while practicing because it looks like rain over the next few days. I will likely not hit balls again until I meet with Patrick next Tuesday, March 12th.
UPDATE: Well, we are now in July 2020 and 136 lessons in and I am still working on that left knee remaining stable all the way through impact. I had to go through some very difficult times in the summer and fall of 2019, which you can read about later, where I learned just how wrong I was using my legs. I was driving with my right leg and pulling with my left leg which completely pulled my hips open and in turn caused my shoulders to come over the top. It took several months for me to actually get the ball in the air after Patrick worked this corruption out of my swing.
It is fun to read these old journal entries as I can see just how far I have come with my game.