My sixth golf lesson with my teaching pro at Man O’ War was one part tune-up and three parts fine tuning. According to Mike, apparently I’ve absorbed most of what he’s been trying to teach me thus far.
On the video monitor, all of my angles, lines, and ratios are significantly improved from when I first came to see him. My alignment and setup are much better and more sustainable, incorporating the proper tilt angles at address.
I’ve lengthened my takeaway arc and shortened my backswing by half, which allows me to maintain a proper spine angle throughout most swings. Given where my swing came from and the early results I’ve seen, I’ve discovered that if it feels awkward and is counter-intuitive to what I’ve always done, I probably need to do more of it.
After watching me hit a few balls off the grass and pinpointing my new swing’s “miss,” we headed inside for some video work. At this point, after adjusting a few items fundamentals that I’d either stopped performing or had taken too far, Mike set about explaining the fine tuning that he’d be working with me on going forward.
Basically, I’d come to the point that my golf swing would produce A) consistently above-average results, or B) playable misses, as opposed to the screaming pulled hooks that invariably ended up out of play previously. In other words, my new swing deficiencies should be “playable faults,” which is a new thing for me. It’s like I’d achieved Level 1 on the golf swing pyramid.
Don’t mistake this statement of achievement as some kind of bragging or pride. It’s not like I’m bombing the ball off the tee 320 yards or pin seeking every flag (yet).
But the new swing’s relative predictability is making a world of difference in confidence and approach on the golf course, which, in turn, has increased my enjoyment on the golf course exponentially. Which, for as much as I would like to entertain the fantasy that I could compete in a Mid-Am or Senior Open some day, having more fun has been the goal all along.
The list of items that are next on the Mike’s checklist include teaching me to consistently keep my “hands down” at the top of the backswing. One consistent fault I battle is still taking my hands way too far above my head and shoulders on the way to the top of my backswing.
This causes a multitude of problems, including causing my torso to lose tilt away from the target and instead lean toward the target, locking my left elbow, and allowing my right elbow to flail up and out above my shoulders.
I realize this written description is inadequate, but it is the long way of saying taking the club back too high with my hands gets the club horribly off-plane. Fortunately, my hands and hips are fast enough to allow me compensate on the way down most of the time.
There are, however, those unfortunate time when I’ve gone too far back and up that even the Waco Kid’s hands couldn’t save the swing before impact.
When Vijay Singh was at the top of his game, I remember how often we’d see B-Roll of him on the range with a towel tucked under his right arm during his full swing practice. Singh’s objective was to keep his right arm connected with his body, so as to encourage a full turn of his torso without letting his hands get away on the way back.
Though Mike generally frowns on Vijay’s particular drill, in my case, he thinks it will solve a lot of my issues that need fine tuning. In my last range session before leaving for the Hawaiian isles, I could already see results from the drill.
Now if there was some gimmick or drill of equal simplicity that could train me to hinge with a flat wrist rather than my habitually cupped wrist….