Lesson #40 – March 21st, 2019
For the last several lessons Patrick has explained that I start the downswing correctly, then I give up too early and let my hands and arms do all the work. In essence, I am throwing my hands at the ball which means I am coming over the top. Note, this coming over the top is much later than when I started in which my coming over the top was as soon as I took the club away.
Now I finally know what he means. I was driving with my right lat at the top of the downswing (towards the ball of my left foot), but I was not rotating my right lower obliques at all. After some thought and discussion, I realize that I have never turned my right obliques which is what most people think of as turning their hips in the golf swing. This is something that is very challenging for me because I have never even thought to do it.
So, Patrick cleaned up my backswing a bit before we started talking about the right hip and the lower right obliques. Going back, I was getting the club way inside my hands. Patrick explained to me that I should desire the butt of the club pointing at my left foot as long as possible on the backswing. This feels like the club is completely vertical but it does keep the club face outside my hands.
I did some practice exercises with Patrick and then gave it a go. My first few were a bit off, but by about the third or fourth swing I was destroying the ball. When you keep the butt of the club pointed at your left foot and keep the club face outside the hands, it is much easier to lag the club on the downswing. It just feels like you want to leave the club back there and start the downswing with your right side rather than with your left side or your shoulders. It was very nice to see a change by Patrick only took about four or five swings to fix. In the past, it would take two weeks. Now it takes several swings.
After the cleaning up of the backswing, Patrick worked on my right obliques and right hip. While I am doing a very good job of driving my right lat towards the ball of my left foot, I am not turning my hips at all. This is why I am “quitting” on the swing and coming over the top. If the hips aren’t turning, you are going to throw your hands at the ball.
I basically get to the top, drive with my right lat and throw my hands and arms at the ball. At this point, that is so much better than in the past but the next step is to start the downswing simultaneously with the driving of the right lat and the turning of the lower right obliques and right hip. This is so hard.
So, once I get to the top of the backswing, I re-level myself by sitting down into my right side. From there, I use my lower right obliques to start my hip turning while using my upper right lat to drive towards the ball of my left foot. When I do this, I feel very top heavy. Almost as if I am going to fall over. Patrick said this was normal and I won’t feel that after a few practice sessions.
This gets the club on the target line much better as now I am turning my hips rather than trying to get the club on the target line with my hands or arms. As Patrick has said many times, it is extremely difficult to turn the hips all the way to the ball and keep turning after you’ve hit the ball. I am going to have to practice quite a bit to make certain my lower right obliques are turning my right hip all the way to the top of the finish of the swing.
If I do this correctly, the finish of my swing is my chest pointing way left of the target and my hands are high. My right hip feels like it is well left of the target.
I now understand why Patrick teaches the golf swing in stages. There is no way you would continue to turn your hips if the right lat did not drive through to the ball of the left foot. The club would be so outside and you honestly couldn’t even hit the ball unless you shanked it. Without understanding the drive of the right lat, the hips cannot turn into the ball. It also feels really weird because your right side drives though the ball and your head angle is almost horizontal which is not what most amateurs are used to.
Patrick also discussed practice chipping as the chip is the feel of impact of the full swing. He made certain my posture was correct as my angles are important. I need to stand a little further away from the ball than what I think is normal. I need to keep my chest high and over my hips. From there, I need to push my right knee into the back of my left knee while all the pressure should be on the ball of my left foot. I should also feel my right lat driving into the ball of the right foot. From there, I simply rotate my right hip to chip the ball.
Something that works for me is to feel as if the right hip is already left of the target when I set up for the chip. This allows me to not think about my right hip getting through the ball rather than remaining stagnant. I hit some great chips using this technique.
For the next several days, I am going to have to work on the trust of feeling top heavy, the right obliques continuing to and through the ball and keeping my left leg as the fulcrum point. While this is a lot of information, I know it is something I can handle as I have the fundamentals of a great golf swing.
I feel as if my legs are still a work in progress as focusing on my turn away from the ball and now through the ball makes me forget about the legs. As of now, I know the turn is more important and the legs will be addressed when I am getting all the way through the ball.
We are getting closer and closer every week. I just need to remain patient and continue to work on what Patrick tells me to work on. No jumping ahead with my own ideas!
UPDATE: It is now mid July 2020 and I am 140 lessons in. I am still working on many of the aforementioned parts of the golf swing. I later found out that my legs and hips were attempting to create power in the golf swing. I would push off with my right leg and pull with my left hip and left side which lead to a very weak fade and often a slice when I tried to swing hard. Now, I still come over the top but it is very late in the swing, right before impact. I need a little more depth in my backswing and the flexibility to allow my right shoulder to get down and through at impact.
It is so interesting to read these lessons from 100 lessons ago as I have learned so much. Don’t ever give up on your golf swing.