We are definitely in the “exposure” stage of the golf swing. Patrick allowed me to play some good golf for a few weeks and now he is ripping the bandaid off and exposing the wound. Not only is he exposing the wound, he is pouring salt in it. I have been to the range a few times and cannot even hit the ball. My divot is outside the ball and I feel like I am standing straight up at impact. Obviously, this is nothing I can fix. So, Patrick opened my eyes to the “wrongs” of my golf swing.
As my downswing evolves, my backswing has gotten better and better. I have learned to take the arms out of the backswing by putting a slight amount of pressure on the insides of my elbows and my lower triceps. By doing this, I am now forced to get the club to the top of the backswing with my left side.
Today, we really focused on getting the backswing deeper and more full. We did this by maintaining my spin angle longer and using the left side to start and complete the backswing. Patrick went back to the lower left obliques starting the swing by a slight movement down. I feel like my left hip is pushing straight down into the ground which then allows my left obliques to drive the club on the backswing. As I continue to drive, as I get close to the top of the backswing, I really feel my right elbow tuck and the club gets “flat”. If I do this correctly, it really feels as if my head is moving towards the ball during the last third of my backswing.
Multiple times Patrick said my backswing was getting better and better. As the backswing gets deeper, the more problems I have with the downswing because I still use a lot of legs and arms. Basically, I go straight to my left heel and try to throw my arms at the ball. This is not how to hit the golf ball. When I do this, I either hit it off the toe or the hosel because I am coming completely across the ball and with no power.
After a few great backswings, Patrick told me to focus on keeping my left knee bent and my left leg in the same place throughout the downswing. I tend to push forward with it and straighten it. I also need to keep my right knee bent and work on rolling my right ankle down and keeping my right heel on the ground at the beginning of the downswing. In essence, the legs are just a base for the swing and should not help you generate power.
To me, the legs feel like they should do absolutely nothing. Patrick explained that he has other clients in which he has to work on getting their legs activated but I am the complete opposite. I try to use my legs to push and generate power. Remember those days of track in the blocks? Yeah, that is not how to get power in the golf swing.
I had about 15 swings in which I tried to get the feel for my left knee staying in the same place and not using my right leg to “push” off. It feels very weird as I have never not used legs to “push” in the golf swing. As a practice exercise, it should feel almost as if my left knee is slightly bent and is actually moving back into my right knee as I start the downswing. I know it is not actually going backwards, but it feels that way to me.
After each swing, Patrick said, “clean up your legs”. When I do this, I understand that the golf swing should really feel like a punch shot. At this point, I can barely get to the ball and when I do, I cannot complete the swing all the way to the top of the swing. Patrick is completely fine with this.
He also touched on the importance of the head staying down and in the swing rather than letting it fly out to the left. I need to keep my head down and on the target line much longer and my right side will push the head up after the body is through impact.
The final thing I felt in the practice exercises today was the importance of using my right glutes to drive through the ball which will cause my right foot to turn and come up on my right toe. When I do this and keep my head down and in the swing, my chest will start moving towards left field while my core continues towards the target.
I have a bad habit of trying to stand up on my practice swings rather than staying down and driving through on the target line. Part of this is the head issue and part is me sitting down on my left heel to try and generate power.
Overall, I didn’t hit a single ball well, but I did feel the power that is generated by using the core and not the legs or arms. It is going to take some time to get used to this, but I am confident I will get it down within the next few months.
The practice exercise Patrick wants me to work on is to leave my arms at the top, with space, as I start the downswing with my right obliques (not legs!). I am to keep this space as we get to impact and then drive with my right glutes and right side. Ahhh, the joys of learning the professional golf swing.
UPDATE: Well, it is now October 2020 and I am 166 lessons in and understand how important footwork is. Most importantly, how important the legs are. Patrick and I still joke about how long it took me to get the ball in the air after pouring salt on the wound of my legs. I still think it was months. We will continue this journal and find out. So, read on.
This content is supported by Midlothian, VA Dentist Dr. Brent Rusnak.