In the two weeks since my last golf lesson, I’d almost gotten the posture and setup down, but was just a tad off. I had just about learned to keep my left foot completely on the ground, but it still slipped up now and then.
I’d learned to be more free-wheeling with my arms and hands, but would periodically seize up and pull-hook a shot left to hell and gone. When I focused intensely, I could shorten my backswing and tilt away from the target correctly, but occasionally my swing would get too long and I would “lose tilt,” again losing the shot way to the left.
Basically, my swing is getting better, but it’s still a work-in-progress. I’m soaking up everything my pro is telling me, and he constantly compliments my coach-ability, but it turns out I had a lot to learn.
Some things, I’d actually learned too well, and Mike has had to back me off of a particular move or status. The way my mind works, if some is good, more is better, and too much isn’t enough (and I’m not just talking about golf).
For example, over the last couple months I’ve gotten too good and turning and absolutely not sliding my hips. Now, in order to get some other parts of my backswing and downswing in place, Mike is actually encouraging me to feel like I’m sliding my hips laterally just a smidgen. Considering the “Latin hips” I exhibited in Hilton Head, that little remedial work is almost a compliment.
So, I’m developing a little checklist of setup principles and new swing thoughts that I desperately hope become second nature. The setup thought is now that I’m a backward “K” to start. Feet square, hands low, hips left, tilt away from the target with the torso, arms loose.
Now the challenge is to develop a swing with a flat wrist. For whatever reason, I swing the golf club with severely cupped wrists. What I thought was a good, early wrist hinge wasn’t early enough. It’s what feels natural, and it’s what feels like I’m being loose with my arms and wrists.
My wrists cup naturally. A lot. Unfortunately, that’s causing several high-level problems. By “high-level problems” I mean that if I stopped taking lessons now and didn’t learn anything new, I would have a perfectly serviceable golf swing. Consistent. Repeating. Not particularly powerful or precise. But serviceable.
Mike commented that I am swinging without much lag at all, something to be worked on moving forward. The move to take the club back on plane with a flat wrist is a lost cause, for now. So, I get to cheat. In order to get an early wrist hinge, between this 5th and the 6th lesson, I have been encouraged to pick up the clubhead very early.
Ridiculously early, like almost immediately, like when my hands and arms are somewhere between 7 and 8 on the clock as I’m taking the club back.
This necessarily leads to a Jim Furyk-esque loop at the top of my swing. Apparently that will put me in a better position that all my focus and trying was producing before. So be it. Everything Mike has tried to teach me has worked, so I have no reason to believe this won’t work as well.
I have to believe I will eventually be able to develop the flat-wristed swing that my pro wants. Everything that I have learned and incorporated into my swing has felt terribly awkward at first. But eventually, if I put enough time into the dirt (or the rubber and Astroturf mat, as it were), I can get it to work for me.
On a side note, I think The Wife has gotten jealous of how much I’m learning and the effect it’s having on my golf game and outlook. Either that, or she truly is tired of being a golf widow, and this is her new plan of attack.
Whatever the reason, she’s observed how pleased I’ve been with the instruction I’ve received at Man O’ War Golf, and is now taking part in clinics there herself. Be prepared, Dear Readers, to hear a lot about this development going forward.