I just had a great session with Mike over at Play 18. The two weeks leading up to this session I have been working on short chip shots with my 7 iron working on hitting the ball first and moving my hips forward of center and towards the target. It helped but I still had some major issues going on. The dead right shank was still coming out when I tried to speed things up and hit full shots. Long and short of the problem was that I was coming too much from the inside with the club, my grip was too weak and too tight and I was swinging the club out and right of the target. All of this equalled an open club face and the hossel on the ball. To make things better, my left wrist at the top of the back swing was bending the wrong way. Seems like a lot to fix in one session, but I have to say Mike made it pretty simple to feel what I needed to feel to get my swing on plane.
First Mike told me he was going to get my swing on the proper plane by switching up three main things.
The first was my grip. Mike had me move the club in my left hand even further into the fingers. He had me hold it straight up in the air in front of me so it felt light. Once I had my left hand on it correctly he had me put my right hand on and keep the light feeling. After that, he said keep that pressure and feeling throughout the swing. I instantly felt that my grip was much tighter in my old swing than what he currently had me doing. I hit a few shots with the new lighter grip and it felt much smoother and had a bit more of effortless power.
The second item to address was my address set up. I was getting into my set up with too narrow of a stance. This was probably the most bizarre thing Mike had me do in our lesson. He had me take my set up without my club and close my eyes. From there I let my hands swing out and in. Because my stance was too narrow my hands were actually missing each other when I brought them together. When I widened my stance a little bit the started hitting perfectly together. I can’t explain why, but it was weird. Widening my stance made me feel more connected to the ground and on my back swing my weight was more in the instep of my right foot than rolled over to the outside. This actually made me feel more comfortable over the ball.
The last thing Mike had me work out was feeling like my hands were swinging to the left of my target. Mike put down a foam roller and put the ball right up next to it and gave me the classic “miss the foam roller, hit the ball.” My swing was hitting the ball and then right into the foam roller. Ahhhhh, so I am coming way too far from the inside? Bingo. Once Mike got me thinking about hitting the ball and getting the club to the left I started to miss the foam roller and hit the ball fairly well. The key here was that I wasn’t drastically hitting the ball to the left, but actually was getting the club back on a decent plane. The feeling for me that produced an on plane swing was getting my hands to the left of the target. The more I tried doing this the more comfortable it felt. It immediately got rid of my dead right shank shot.
I left today feeling much better about my swing and where I am heading. There are still a few things that I really need to get more comfortable with and work on. Mainly my left wrist at the top of my swing and feeling my hands swinging to the left of the target are things I need to work on a lot in the next few weeks. I have my big golf trip to North Carolina coming up in the next two weeks so I am going to get in a lot of practice and one more session with Mike. Hopefully this is the start of a great golf season!