My Winter Swing Tune Up – Part 8

This meeting proved to be far less frustrating than my last.  That doesn’t mean it wasn’t frustrating, it just means it was less frustrating.  We started working on chip shots and Mike was telling me that I wasn’t driving my right arm down and through the ball enough.  I was still letting my left hand take over and move through to my left instead of down and straight to the target.

Mike had me put my left hand in my pocket take the club back to parallel to the target line then hold it and when he told me too I drove my right arm to the ball.  I wasn’t getting it fully and I think it was because I was focusing on the club head and the ball.  As soon as I stopped fixating on actually hitting the ball I started to hit better chips.

I think this is a big key for me in every aspect of my game.  I work a lot on my swing without a ball in front of me.  As soon as I am actually trying to hit a golf ball my swing changes because I am worried about where the ball is going to go and how I am going to hit it.  I need to work on forgetting about the ball and the result and simply make a good swing.  I am getting better at it, but it is clear that once the ball is in front of me I get caught up in other things instead of just making a good swing.  I know this is largely mental, but I have been noticing it even more with the short game shots.

We moved on to hitting some 7 iron shots and I was getting better and generating some decent club head and ball speeds but not hitting it entirely solid.  Most of my hits were a bit fat.  Mike pointed out that I tend to shift my weight too far back to my right leg instead of over the ball and focusing on the instep of my right foot as the pressure point.  This is something I need to get comfortable with because when I do it correctly it feels like I am leaning forward towards the target when I am actually just staying over the ball.  It feels like I am doing my best stack and tilt impression, but I am really getting into a good position.

The other thing we worked on was getting the feeling of really releasing the club early in the down swing and fully through the ball.  Mike had me releasing the club so much that the back of my left hand was facing flat to my target.  I was also basically trying to “cast” the club out behind the ball and then turn through it.  I wasn’t actually casting the club, but that was the feeling I was going for in order to square the clubface at impact.  The funniest part about this whole process was how hard I was trying to hit the ball left and I barely could.  All of the moves were things I thought would send the ball to the left but I would either get the club face square and hit it somewhat straight or it would be a bit open and I would hit a fade.

My swing is feeling much better, but I still have a lot of work to do.  My biggest problem right now is letting my swing go and releasing it through the ball as well as getting the clubface square.  I am having a hard time getting it square because on the takeaway I am rotating my arms to the right which, paired with the gravity of the downswing, is keeping the clubface open.  I am working on a few drills to strengthen my release as well as tighten up my takeaway and I am confident I can get them better and start squaring the clubface.

The most frustrating part of this whole process is knowing what I should be doing and not having my body respond the way I want it to.  I am starting to understand everything Mike is telling me and I understand how the swing should feel, but it still doesn’t feel as natural as I would like it to and I still feel my body fighting old habits.  I know this will be an ongoing struggle with my golf game, but I am the kind of person who loses sleep over these things.  I want to fix it right now and today, not tomorrow and not next week.  I am staying patient and know I am going about this process the right way, but I every ounce of me wants to go to the driving range and hit 300 balls and figure it out.  I am resisting that urge and sticking to the drills Mike is giving me.

The last note I will add is that in order for me to get my takeaway tightened up I really need to focus on my grip pressure being lighter and generating the feeling that my takeaway is wide and outside the ball.  Right now I feel like it is straight back when it is really to the inside and rotated to the right.  I need to keep my left forearm straight and just bend my right elbow to create the hinge.  When I do this it feels like the clubface is always looking at the ball but it is really getting on plane perfectly.

There is an ongoing theme brewing of what my swing “feels” like and what my swing is actually doing.  In order to get my swing to do what I want it to I am trying to generate and create certain feelings.  I am trying to get away from the technical aspect of the swing and focusing on how it feels to me.  It is fun, frustrating and becoming an obsession.  I am loving every minute of it.

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