My Winter Swing Tune Up – Part 3

Since last Tuesday I was able to make 5,000 total practice swings with a yardstick and hitting an impact bag.  My main focus during those swings was to keep my head and body quite, fanning my right hand on the take away, taking the club to parallel and no further and then swinging the club through to the impact position and hitting the impact bag while leading with my hands in front of the club.

When I got to the lesson, I hit a few chip shots and with a small adjustment from Mike I was hitting much better chips.  It felt natural and I wasn’t thinking about anything technical other than where my hands should finish.  I can tell that I am starting to lose some of the anxiety and uncertainty that I have had for so long around short game shots.  I attribute this relaxed feeling to the focus Mike has placed on understanding the fundamentals of the swing.  Now that I have a better idea of what I am trying to do it isn’t such a daunting task.

I am very pleased with the step-by-step approach Mike is having me go through right now.  At first, I thought I was going to get frustrated with not being able to hit golf balls and make full swings, but I understand what he is doing.  By getting me to focus on the fundamentals of my right and left arm first then adding in both hands and a focus on the impact position he is allowing me to piece it together on my own.  I am able to take one piece away from each meeting and work on it for a full week, then when I get to the next meeting we tie it together, talk about it and add another layer.  It feels like I am learning and not just replicating a desired swing fix.  When I miss hit chips I can feel what I did wrong.  I am starting to understand a lot more.

The approach is also keeping me excited about the practice and anticipating what he will add at the next meeting.  It feels like the material is fresh every time we talk.  I have fully committed myself to following this approach and will not waver from it.  I am not going ahead of his plan by going to the driving range and hitting balls, just yet.  I am taking this step-by-step.  No promises once the weather clears up in Chicago though!

The focus of this latest meeting was getting me to work on my shoulder and hip turn on the back swing.  I have taken a few lessons in the past and most of the teachers have pointed out that my back swing needs improvement, but none have given me a plan for making that happen.  This wasn’t the case with Mike.  He saw what I was doing wrong with my turn during our first lesson together, but hasn’t brought it up until now.  He allowed me to focus on the other fundamentals first so now that I am ready to work on back swing my fundamentals of the take away and impact position are much improved and ready to work in conjunction with the added layer.

The basic message he was giving me was that I put my weight on the outside of my right foot on the turn and this makes me move my head and straighten my right leg.  These moves are not good and add to inconsistency in my shots.  As soon as he explained it and I took a back swing I could see what he meant.  I wasn’t even aware that my weight was on the wrong side and as soon as I made an adjustment it felt much different.  Just like the other changes, it felt awkward at first, but I know that after a week of practice it will feel much better.

The drill I am working on this week is to take a shaft and put it across my chest and cross my arms over it and make a back swing.  My focus is on the visual of having my right pocket move directly back and turning my right butt cheek to the target all while keeping my weight on the inside of my right foot, not letting it straighten all while not moving my head.  I am dropping my right pocket directly back and not swaying forward.

This might sound like a lot initially, but it really isn’t.  As soon as I started focusing on just keeping my right knee bent with my weight on the inside of my foot and turning my right butt cheek to the target the rest fell into place.  Those are the keys I am going to really focus on this week while I am practicing.  I am also not forgetting to focus on keeping my head still!

The last thing I will be working on this week is my flexibility.  I am committing myself to 30 minutes of stretching every day to improve the flexibility of my hamstrings, lower back and my legs in general.  Right now, I can’t even touch my toes and that is just embarrassing.  This won’t be the case come next week.

My goal for next week is to be more flexible than I am today (touch the ground in front of me with flat hands).  I am also going to make 1,000 back swing turns a day to get it engrained in my muscle memory.  The 1,000 a day seems to be helping so I don’t see any reason to change it.

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2 Comments to “My Winter Swing Tune Up – Part 3”

  1. Love your layered approach under the guidance of a professional. The mega-reps will be great since you are confident you are ingraining the right techniques. How long does your pro think it will take to trust it once you’ve trained it?

  2. A lot of these posts are from over the winter so I am further along than when the posts are being put up. I have played about three times so far this year and it is going to take some time to get fully comfortable with the changes. I am not going to start worrying about my score until the beginning or middle of May. Everything I do up until then will be focused on these fundamentals. Once I hit summer, I should have a much better feel for these changes on the course. The goal is still to break 80 and reach a single digit handicap by the time golf season ends here in Chicago.

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