It had been awhile since I actually swung a golf club with the Thanksgiving holiday and rainy and cold weather in the Triangle since my last lesson. I was a little worried about how I was going to chip and hit the ball today, but I should not have been worried.
First the first time ever, Patrick had me hit five balls with a full swing to start the lesson. His response was, “I hear ya!” I hit some great shots. At this point, he has taught me to the point that I understand rotation, now we are going to work on keeping the spine and hip angle throughout the swing. While I bend over at the hips very well with my setup, I break down the deeper I get into my backswing.
Patrick worked on getting my hips to stay rolled forward throughout the entire backswing. Now it feels like my head is actually going down towards the ground as I get deeper into the backswing. I know that is not what is happening, but that is what it feels like because I am used to standing up as I get to the top of the backswing.
If I can maintain my hip angle throughout the backswing I can hit the ball extremely well. Patrick also introduced the idea of keeping the right elbow very soft through and past impact. I should not feel extension until the club is approaching my chest level. At this point, I extend too early with my right arm as I approach impact when I should not extend until well after impact; that is holding off the release.
We are making huge strides but Patrick wants me to wait until July or August 2020 to consider playing competitive golf or taking trips because once we master the swing on the range, we then have to work on taking it to the course. This is a process in and of itself.
Over the next few days I am going to work on keeping the hip/spine angle and keeping the right arm relaxed all the way through impact. The goal was to get the left arm and elbow relaxed to start, now we are moving on and focusing on keeping the right arm and elbow relaxed. Remember when we learned that the hands, arms and shoulders are not part of the golf swing?
I am also to continue to hit five balls with the chipping motion, then five balls with an actual full swing. The chipping motion really does help me much better understand impact.
UPDATE: Well, it is now a year later in December 2020, I am 192 lessons in and I am still learning the backswing and the importance of the core in the downswing. Patrick has encouraged me to play 18 holes at Knights Play at least once a week so we are starting the process of bringing he swing to the course. It is definitely not easy. With each week of going out of the course, I can feel my backswing get deeper and deeper. Now I know what this is such a difficult process.
I have also accepted that attempting to improve my swing anywhere without Patrick or on the course is not valuable for me. All I do is rabbit hole and work on something that has absolutely nothing to do with improving the golf swing.