We are officially less than two weeks away from playing golf on the golf course. It has been quite the journey. I am in a very good mental place right now as I have low expectations and I am going to simply enjoy being out there with the guys. I am playing with Dan McKay in the Hope Valley Spring Member guest on May 3, 4 and 5. I have three more lessons until I tee it up on the course.
So, today, Patrick and I further discussed the importance of the takeaway and got into the leg work of the downswing. I was still working hard to open my left shoulder as I took the club away and Patrick said that is no longer necessary. That was an important training exercise to do for a few months but now I do not think to fold my left shoulder in at the start of the backswing the way I used to.
Now, if I can get the first six inches of the backswing to start with the driving of my lower left obliques, behind my ribs, without lifting my right shoulder, I have a great take away. Patrick noted that the Putting Perfecter is perfect if you want your body to be in the correct positions at take away. I am going to have to break down and buy one.
I also need to make certain my right obliques and right hip hold off as the left side drives the body back. The more I can hold off with the right obliques, the more torqued I feel and the more leverage I get with my left shoulder going under. This creates a great angle with my shoulders pointing at the ball or inside the ball when I get to the top of the backswing.
After hundreds of practice swings and a lot of focus, I can now feel the transition getting more smooth and slow. I need to think going “as slow as possible” when it comes to my transition. As soon as the transition develops my right knee drives to just below my belly button and stops. From there, I used my right side to drive down to the ball. It took me a few practice exercises to feel the right leg driving to the belly button and then stopping but now it feels somewhat normal. Having used my legs in track and all sports, I don’t think the training of the legs will be nearly as difficult as the arms. More on that in the weeks and months to come.
So, if I can get the right leg to drive inside the left leg and then stop at the belly button, the right side drives to the ball. If done correctly, there is plenty of room for extension to and through the ball. Patrick consistently has to soften my left ribs, left chest and left shoulder as I get extension. If my left side remains tense, it is impossible to get the extension Patrick wants.
He allowed me to hit a few balls and I quickly realized the more I take my hands and arms out of the swing, the better I hit the ball. Remember those early days where Patrick would say, “soft, soft” as I was turning back. Well, eight months later and I finally get it.
Patrick also pointed out that if we can get the left arm and left elbow to be really soft, we will generate a significant amount of speed. It is still unusual for the left elbow to roll towards my belly button at the start of the downswing but it is getting there. If my left arm remains tense, I have the tendency to leave the club outside and come across a little bit. Nothing like I used to or most amateurs do, but if I can get the left elbow to be soft and roll towards my belly button, we are in business.
After the lesson my left side was a little bit sore so I decided to take the rest of the day off and hit some balls at the range tomorrow, Wednesday. I have so much more of an understanding of the swing now that it is unreal. Patrick said that when I actually go on the course and tee it up, I need to focus only on the first six inches of the backswing. That will allow my brain to somewhat function during my rounds.
UPDATE: This is hilarious. This statement alone makes me laugh “Having used my legs in track and all sports, I don’t think the training of the legs will be nearly as difficult as the arms”. Little did I realize that using my legs in other sports was going to be a big problem. During the months of July and August of 2019 I couldn’t get the golf ball off the ground because Patrick was teaching me to not drive with my right leg and right knee. Instead, the legs are support and I rotate around them. This was a wound that was extremely difficult to heal, but now in August 2020 (148 lessons in) I am a much better golfer that does not use his legs to create club head speed.
Also, I started using the Putting Perfecter for the take away again.