Friday 31st March 2017 –
It has been 3 weeks since getting back from Dubai and it has taken a few friendly rounds of golf to get back into the slower greens, muddy rough and changeable weather. The first round I played at Mottram Hall and seriously my putts were going half way, after the slick quick greens in Dubai. Back into High Legh I went to see Damian…..
Session 1 – Stiff Right Leg
Studying footage to put some social media content I never like how much I straighten my right leg on my back swing. It just looks un-natural and can’t be good for the swing path over having both legs equally bent and taking the load of the swing. A straight leg doesnt take as much power as the bent one so there is an immediate imbalance there somewhere as well as it not looking great. Check out these clips and see what I mean.
I discussed this with DT and he has had the same problem for years coaching Pablo Larrazábal so he was a good guy to work through some drills with me he has used on the PGA Tour to help Pablo. He explained that bending the right leg will help me load up on the back swing to get even more power, without really trying to hit the ball harder, just just through more being created by the body mechanics of it.
We started off by simply taking the balls away and doing the swing stage by stage and concentrating on the bending of the knee and naturally taking an equal balance across both legs. We then progressed this to doing a session with a strong elastic band. DT would literallybe behind me pulling this tight, pink, rubber band around my knee which would force me to bend and resist it.
We did this first on its own in a stable position, then progressed it to shadow swings before we finally started hitting balls with DT stood behind me trying to straighen my knee with my job being to resist it and bend the thing. It definitely worked as a drill as you could conciously feel your knee position.
Final stage was then removing the resistance and going back to caring how the ball strike was. Of course when we were doing the drill, where the ball went was of little importance whilst we iscolated this fix. Going back to then wanting to strike well and getting these improvements into my sub-concious swing is going to take time and effort on the driving range.
Session 2 – Getting to Grips with Putting
Last week you may have seen on Instagram that I headed to Prestbury to do some putting practice. Whilst I was down there I was experimenting with all sorts as I want to lower the number of putts I have in a round. Even taking 3 or 4 per round off my stats will help me get towards my goal of having single figures in sight by the end of the season. My misses were normally pulls to the left of target, of course I do push putts to the right but I know I have messed up with those as soon as I do them. With the left pull I can think I have hit it fine but just miss to the left of the cup. I tried looking at the cup rather than the ball during the putt (like Mr. Spieth) and conventionally looking down. To be fair looking at the cup does help with distance control and has a lot of theory behind it – think about when you throw a ball or kick it. You dont look at your arm or feet, you look at where you want the thing to go and visualize it going there then just do it. So why do we look at the ball when we putt?
Anyway I had mixed results in practice and wanted DT to spend some time on this with me analyzing it properly. Again we experimented but he made sure I understood getting the setup right was the most important thing to a good, consistent putting stroke. It then matters less where you are looking. If you aren’t alighed right your body is auto correcting mistakes, if your grip isnt right you can pull your club all over and if your arent pivoting then you will just never hit the same putt twice. We nailed down a few key things for me to remember:
- Pick your line first and line up the putter head, and alightment tools on the putter (if you have them, on the right line with the putter shaft angle correctly resting the putter on the ground. I had a tendency to have it too low and need to keep it upright.
- Looking over the ball build up the feet to be all correctly in line and stand up and eyes over the ball.
- Change my grip completely to help with the shouder alinement. I was doing right hand below left how I hole a normal club, but we have switched up to go left hand down. This feels really weird but it does get you in a better alignment to the target with flat shoulders. He explained the theory and makes a lot of sense. I just have to practice practice practice so this new grip feels ‘proper’ and natural rather than strange – as that swing thought wont help at all.
- Always pick a spot on the middle of the ball and get it rolling end of end. Rather than looking at the club on its back swing. If you do that it will make it swing even futher and even make your body sway. Either pick a spot on the ball or look at the hole!
The results were an imediate improvement on how straight the putts went to target. I found it strange to control the weight of the putt with this new grip but thats just down to practice. And practice I will do!
Season started 1st April with a win in the Captains v Presidents match. I used the new putting grip and it took balls. I nearly binned it after a few missed putts but thanks to Olly my partner I kept with it. Low and behold I had a 20 footer up a steep hill to win it on the last hole and in it went. This DT fella knows what he is talking about after all.