If I thought last week’s lessons were difficult, I clearly did not know what was coming. It was 95 degrees and humid today and I felt every bit of it during my lesson. I mentioned to Patrick that my legs feel as if they are straightening at the top of the backswing and then again on the downswing. Patrick explained that keeping my right leg soft and bent at the top of the backswing is extremely important for the downswing.
The reason for this is if I straighten my right leg at the top of the backswing, I am immediately going to straighten my left leg on the downswing and then pull across with my hips, which is what I have done with my old swing for the last eight years.
So, we worked on keeping the right leg soft at the top of the backswing and starting the downswing with my right butt cheek staying inside of my left butt cheek. My right knee will also go inside my left knee. I can only do this when my legs are soft and not stressed. When I do this, I can then start using my core to create speed.
As I start the downswing, I then need to “hold off” with my left hip so there is pressure. In the past, I pulled or ripped with the left hip to create power. Now, I have to work on bracing with the left hip which feels like my left butt cheek is closer to the target line than my right butt cheek. This is extremely difficult because as I get to the ball and through the ball I am not very flexible in my back and hips. The swing feels very short and my arms feel like dinosaur arms because they are so short.
Patrick said that I need to work on keeping the right hip braced and extending my arms at and through impact. This is very, very difficult as there is a tremendous pull on my back, triceps and lats. I have never been in this position so it is going to take a lot of practice golf swing stretching to get my arms to extend and my right hip holds off.
The other thing I can do to make this turn better is to get up on my right toe. I have a habit of keeping the right foot on the ground which limits my flexibility to get to the finish of the swing. For now, Patrick is fine with my finish being very “short” in my eyes.
He also showed me a practice chipping exercise to do at the range. It is similar to what I was doing a few weeks ago, but now I understand the importance of holding off with the left hip. He also made certain that my right knee was not only behind the left knee, but inside of it. I hit a few chips that were fantastic. He said I should do hundreds of these to become a great ball striker. He also said that after impact, I could continue to hold off with my left hip and continue through by extending my arms and attempting to get to the top.
Right now, it feels very tight but Patrick said that is good. It will take weeks, potentially months, for my back, lats and hips to get flexible enough to really finish the swing. That is fine. The most important thing is to hold off with my left hip. It is much easier to do that when I can get my right butt cheek inside my left butt cheek during the transition. It is also helpful to go very, very slow.
Ahh, the golf swing continues to evolve.
UPDATE: Well, this was 100 lessons ago as I am now on lesson #175 in October 2020. It has been quite the journey but so much of what Patrick explained in these 175 hours is starting to make more and more sense. Patrick ripped me apart and put me back together and I am getting closer to being a finished product. By lesson #200 I am certain I will be nice and shiny. The most important thing I am learning today is to keep my right shoulder low throughout the take away and backswing. When I do this, I hit the ball extremely well. Only because I went through the struggles of learning that my legs are used for support and not power.