Today was the hardest lesson yet. It has taken a full year, but Patrick is very pleased with my backswing. I have finally gotten the feel for keeping my hands out of the backswing. If I can keep my arms connected to my body all the way through the take away and keep my left hand in a strong grip with the back of my hand “up” I can get to the top of the backswing with very little effort. I know we will continue to clean this up but Patrick said he is now focused on the downswing.
He also made the statement, “I was hoping it would be cooler by the time we got to this point in the swing.” We started the downswing and Dear God is it difficult. By the time my lesson was over, my golf shirt was completely soaked with sweat.
So, here is how it works. At the top of the backswing we need to keep space between my right tricep and arm and my lat. We do this by using the lat to drive. By doing this, you will then use the majority of your lat and right side to get to the ball. The difficult part is the fact that at the top, we are going to keep the hinge of the left wrist while allowing the left elbow to be soft. The left shoulder and left elbow should be soft as the left wrist remains hinged and firm. This is extremely difficult for me right now.
When we start the downswing, we continue to get on the inside of the right foot with the right ankle and right knee being lower than the left ankle and left knee. Patrick mentioned that we will passively let the arms drop lower towards the right knee in time, but we are focusing on keeping the left wrist hinged, rotating with the left elbow and getting down. Way down. It feels like my head is going to hit the ground as I am swinging. I am basically planking into the ball.
The reason this is hard is that if you keep your left wrist hinged, you have to use your right lat and the right side to get down to the ball. Absolutely no one does this. It is so much easier to throw your hands at the ball.
We did about 20 of those with Patrick holding my left wrist hinged and putting his elbow on my left elbow to try to keep it slightly bent and soft. Wow, this was so hard.
As stated, I was completely soaked with sweat by the time we finished the lesson. I have a lot to work on, but now I understand just how hard the downswing is. I don’t even want to think about trying to hit a golf ball right now.
The good news is that my backswing keeps getting better and better and I am completely comfortable with it. Now we have to remain patient, keep the left wrist hinged and used the right lat and right side to get to the ball. Easy enough.
UPDATE: I am now on lesson #173 and we are still working on the downswing. What makes it so hard is the fact that you need the support of your legs and core to get down to the ball with your right side. Not only that, your core needs to be strong enough, and flexible enough, to get your arms to the top of the backswing with your elbows soft and pointed inside. Try doing that without support.
While I understand the golf swing, there is still a level of patience, strength, flexibility and support that make it difficult. I never would have guessed that it would take over two years just to get the core support to complete a great backswing with a full shoulder turn. But, here we are!