Phase II of my golf swing has begun. Today I told Patrick that Phase I was me trying out new things, going all over the map and learning to turn my shoulders. Phase II is complete focus on the details of the golf swing. I am going to put blinders on when I go to the range, chip and putt with the guys or am around golfers. I do not want to listen to their “analysis” of the golf swing nor see what they are doing to “perfect” their game. He was very happy to hear this.
With this in mind, he took me to the end of the range so my back was to all the other golfers on the Old Chatham range.
The first thing we discussed was the slow movement on the first six inches of the downswing. If I can get a slow rhythm from the top of the backswing to the right obliques “sitting” into the downswing, I am doing a great job. I had done this a few times at the range but always gave up because the ball wasn’t going very far. I would then start to jerk from the top with my shoulders. No more.
Patrick went into a little more detail about my take away by telling me to hold off my right hip/right side as I use my lower left side to start the swing. Once again, I am remaining as wide as possible with my hips and butt. If I can get this width and hold off the right side while starting with my lower left side, my right elbow stays on my right rib much longer. This in turn will cause my left shoulder to drop creating leverage.
We worked on that for about 15 minutes and then started to discuss the downswing. Note that my left side is still very sore so it is hard for me to get down to the ball, but we still addressed part II of the downswing. After getting to the top and slowly going from the top to the start of the downswing with the lower right obliques, you are to actually hold the lower right obliques and right hip “back” as long as possible. Meaning, it feels like your right hip is staying behind your body while the downswing is created by using the right lat to extend the arms and get down to the ball.
Patrick stood behind me and held the belt loop of my shorts on my right side. When doing this, it forces the right lat to drive towards the ball of the left foot. This is where the right elbow falls to the right rib and you can drive through the ball. This is something all professionals do. They will say if feels like they get their right elbow on their right ribs and let it rip. Unfortunately, all amateurs think that it is ripping the right elbow down and then trying to rotate. It is nearly impossible to time that out correctly. Instead you are to keep your right hip back and allow the right lats to drive towards the target.
If done correctly, I feel as if I am falling back a little bit but with the last few practice swings I did with Patrick, I could start to feel my weight moving onto my left foot. It is amazing how wrong I am to try and figure this stuff out myself. Fortunately, with Phase II, I am going to be completely focused and allow Patrick to show me the correct swing.
I hit some balls after a few practice stretches with Patrick and can honestly say that I can now feel when I make mistakes with my swing. I no longer have to look and see where the ball is going. I can tell you I was too quick at the top or my take away was poor because my right side collapsed or if I simply lost my posture.
Over the course of the next few months, it is going to take tremendous focus to own my own golf swing. Patrick is very pleased, but it is time for me to take the next step and start embedding this proper swing actions and thoughts and bring them to the course.
On Friday, April 19th, I am supposed to have a lesson at 2:00 pm but there are thunderstorms forecasted. Whether I get to have the lesson or not, I am very pleased with my progress and my commitment to focus during practice and while on the course.
UPDATE: Well, I am now on lesson #147 in August 2020 and I still tinker. Fortunately, I tinker with things that help me created depth in the backswing. If I have learned one thing throughout this entire process, it is the importance of depth on the backswing. You can play with your hands, arms, wrists and other things all you want, but if you do not turn your shoulders and create depth, the swing is going to fall apart. This is especially true fr people like me who had severely over the top swings that were all arms. If you pull with your right arm on the backswing, you are really going to have to focus on depth of the backswing with any swing chance because when that right elbow separates from the body, it stops turning. Good luck!