Today Patrick continued to clean up my backswing. Whenever I am with him, I feel as if I am “skinny” at the top of my backswing. When I practice or go to the range, I do not feel this. He explained that the “skinny” feeling is getting deeper into the backswing or allowing your chest and shoulders to turn more around your hips. When I get to what I thought was the top, I can actually go more “behind” me. That said, I still need to make certain the butt of the club feels like it is pointing at my left foot throughout the entire backswing. He also encouraged me to get deeper into my left side when starting the backswing. Overall, the backswing has gotten much, much better.
The downswing is another story altogether. I thought the downswing started with the right hip violently dropping and moving towards the right of the target. This would drop the right lat and things would fall into place. If you do this, the club is going to be way behind you and you are going to swing out to right field and hit a huge draw or, more likely, a hook.
Patrick explained that the downswing starts with a very slow movement of the right hip to get the hips back to where they were at the take away. As the slowly moving hips get close to parallel to the target line, the lower right lat drives towards the ball, through the ball and towards the target. You feel very long and steep when you do this the first few times.
The most important part for me is to remain patient and move very slowly from the top of the backswing to my hips being close to on the target line. It honestly feels like a full swing chip at this point. Patrick smiled and simply said, “perfect”. For a very long time, he has said that I do not understand where speed comes from. This further illustrates that fact. The speed from the top of the swing to your hip is wasted speed. The important speed is from your hip through the ball.
For the next few days I am really going to have to work on patience and trust and accept the distance the ball goes is not important at this point. I need to allow my hip to return to the target line and then let my right lat and right side get the club to the ball.
One issue I have right now is my left shoulder wants to slide towards the target. If you perform the swing correctly, the right side driving to the ball will cause the left shoulder to go up and out towards left field. This is a very unusual feel as I have never done this in the past.
So, lots of patience and trust at the top of the backswing. That is the key. That said, I am going to continue to work on the backswing and play around with the feel of the lower right lat getting the club to impact.
UPDATE: We are now in late July 2020 and I am 142 lessons in. I am in still in the process of accepting that the right shoulder does not create power. This was extremely difficult for me as I ignited the right shoulder and right elbow early in the backswing my entire golf life. Now, I have to keep the right shoulder and right elbow quiet and “down” as long as possible because it does not lift to get the club up. My left side drives the club up on the backswing. The longer I can keep my right shoulder and right arm quite, the better I hit the golf ball these days. A “swing change” turned into a small two year project. No big deal.