Golf is extremely difficult. Today Patrick worked on several things as he knows my playing date is coming rather quickly. He videoed my swing from face on and was very pleased with the depth of my backswing. He was concerned with the fact that my angle is very steep on the downswing. Meaning, I drop my right shoulder and try to come into the ball in an upward motion. Overall, he wasn’t upset with my swing but we had some things to work on.
The first thing he addressed is my head position at take away. I have developed the habit of dropping my head back when I drop my shoulder. My head is dropped back to the right at a 30 degree angle. This is part of the reason I drop my shoulder as I want to return to the ball where I started and if my vision is at a 30 degree angle my whole body is going to want to come into the ball at that angle. Now, it feels like there is a slight pull on the right side of my neck as my head is much more upright while my right shoulder is down at setup.
We also worked on staying much more upright and long throughout the downswing. I have the habit of scrunching with my right side to get to the ball. This is partly because of my dropping of the shoulder. Instead, at the top, I am to stay long and drive with the back of my right lat. In essence, I should try to push my right lat through my right nipple on the target line once I reach the top of the backswing.
Patrick twisted me to get the feel of the downswing. He used a little bit of extra force so I would feel it. Something I realized is I have the habit of setting the angle with my left lat at the top of the backswing and letting it go. On the downswing, the correct feel is the left lat stays engaged and “holds off” as the right lat drives through the right nipple. If I do this correctly, it feels almost as if my left leg is going to collapse due to the movement.
This is really hard to do but I do get the idea of the right lat staying long and pushing the right side of the body through impact.
What is so hard is the fact that the left side “holds off” while the right side drives the club back to the target line and then you have to stay patient and trust your right side to get the club down to the ball. This is nearly impossible.
If done correctly, the right elbow is way ahead of the hands as the club approaches impact. The only way this is going to happen is if the right lat uses some force to drive through the body and towards the target. The more force in which the right lat uses, the more the hands fall back and the left elbow will lead to the ball.
Getting down to the ball with the left lat holding off and the right elbow leading is extremely difficult. When I do this, it feels amazing. Unfortunately, I am only doing this once every 10 or so shots. I know it is all about trust and patience but it takes a lot to continue to wait to get the club face to the ball until the very last second.
A practice exercise Patrick showed me was to set up at address, put my right hand to the left of my left hand and start the backswing. I am to use my left side to move my left arm to parallel. I am to do this by getting deep into my lower left obliques and holding off my left knee. If I do it properly, my left hand will naturally rotate and my fist will be pointing to the sky. When I do it well, I feel the back side of my lower left obliques working. It is as if my fat rolls on my lower back are doing the work.
Patrick also cleaned a few things up with my backswing. I am to continue to work on getting deeper with my left side and at the top there should be a twist feel with my shoulders as my left shoulder is very low which causes my right shoulder to be a little higher. In essence, my shoulder angle is more downward to the ball rather than flat. If I do this, I feel the club going up and around towards second base a little more. The lower my left shoulder is, the lower the right shoulder wants to get when the right lat drives through on the downswing.
Ugh, the golf swing is so hard. It is quite rewarding when you have the trust and patience and hit one correctly. I just wish I could do it more consistently.
Next week, Patrick and I have three lessons as I know that I need reps now that I understand the swing. He said now it is just getting the reps and the feel for impact.
I went to the UNC Finley range and hit a few fantastic shots and some terrible ones. It is still a work in progress but at least I know what I should be doing. I really need to work on getting to the top of the backswing, trusting it, allowing my right lat to stay long and drive towards the target. I can really feel my right elbow lead and my right hand feels very “outside” my body through impact. I know it is just on the target line, but I am so used to it flipping over.
Let’s hope I don’t obsess too much this weekend.
UPDATE: It is now late July 2020 and I am 145 lessons in. To this day, I am still getting the understanding of using my right side to drive under and not pull with my left side on the downswing. It has taken a very long time for me to understand the right elbow leading through impact. I have completed thousands of practice chipping motions to get to the point where my right forearm stays in line with the shaft of the club. While I understand it, I am still cleaning up getting to impact.
I never would have guessed that it would take two years to grasp the golf swing, but here we are.