Lesson 10 – Big Swinger

Friday 14th June

For nearly a year now the swing has been the foundation of everything DT and I have worked on to improve my golf.  In our two hour lessons we have usually done at least an hour on the current state of the golf swing every single time.  I cannot say though I remember a swing ‘tweak’ like this one that made me instantly feel like wow this is something I have been looking for in improving how I strike the ball.    It’s a great feeling when this happens as you can’t wait to get out on that driving range and start putting what you have learnt into practice.

The key elements we worked on this week were:

  • Downswing wrist/club positioning
  • Fundamental driver revision
  • TrackMan Putting

 

IMG_2915
DT Showing me how its done

 

The Downswing

The majority of everything I have worked on the for my swing has been the fundamentals such as take away, positioning, club angles, top of the swing and the club path returning to the ball with a neutral club position.  Creating consitent ball strikes to target being the aim.  In this lesson DT brought something new to the table specifically on the downswing.  He brought up some footage of me during the warmup and looked at where the club was in relation to my hands on the downswing.  I was releasing the club too early which let do the club head getting ahead of my hands.  DT explained that I should be maitaining the strong wrist cock achieved on the backswing a lot longer until my hands are back to my belt buckle before letting the club naturally release out a lot later.  This should create a lot more power, for a lot less effort and be a step closer to a more efficient swing that creates that compression on the ball and a penetrating ball flight.

To work get this into my swing we first off just concentrated on the transition from top of the swing to bringing the hands through.  Keeping those wrists cocked and the club at around 90 degrees all the way through to the point the wrists pass the belt buckle – then holding it there just to get the feel for it.  We repeated this step over and over with DT stepping in when needed with a tweak here and there.  We then move onto doing slow full swings with this ‘feel’ again keeping it slow and repetitive to really allow the swing change to sink in.  The final step at this stage was to then start releasing the club head and clipping a few balls, not with any real outcome feedback, just to get confident with letting it go with natural momentum rather than flicking at it.  I must say it was a weird feeling at first, as it felt like the club wasnt going to be able to come down in time and create a slice.   Repititon was the key though and I got there in the end I felt and when it worked wow the results felt great.

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The next step to get this down was to intruduce one of DT’s training aids – the bent club.  Its a standard golf club that has been bent significantly to really get those hands in a strong position and force the correct positioning.  It makes it harder to get the correct strike on the ball but it’s forcing you to make the right swing changes that we are trying to achieve.  In a similar pattern to before we broke it down to just the downswing transition, before moving onto slow full swings, normal tempo swings before finally clipping a few balls.

 

You can see from the image the difference achieved from todays lesson from my hand position at the start of the lesson to that towards the end.  The extra distance created in the final transition means that the club has to travel further before impacting the ball and its that final movement that increases the club head speed, creating more power and achievable with less swing effort.  So I felt like I was swinging slower, with a better tempo and cracking the ball harder and futher.  Such a good feeling!  Thats the reason I couldn’t wait to get to Prestbury to wack 100 balls the next day.

 

Driving Revision

If you get a good drive off the tee, every hole feels 100% easier.   Not only physically from where you are hitting your 2nd shot from in relation to the target, the flag, but also psychologically your attacking the hole rather than getting out of trouble.  It gives you a spring in your step and makes you feel good in front of your competitiors rather than embarassed for slicing one or topping it 50 yards.

My driving has been hit and miss this season.  For the first time ever I have played some rounds fully confident with the big stick.  In Portugal for example I was literally picking spots and lines, over trees, across lakes, down thin fairways – whatever – and was effortlessly spanking it down there like Jon Daly in his prime.  Then on other days I had to stick to the 3 wood as the driver just cost me too many wasted shots recovering from far fairways and chipping out of the woods.  This means I am always keen to do a bit more work on it to slowly get to be a consitent driver of the ball.

After all the swing work we had done already, today we just did 20 mins of fundamentals using TrackMan to see where the bad ones were coming from.  Looking for things I could do to improve consistency and work on getting the ball out of the middle of the club head.   We found that most of my slices were coming from the club head as my path had improved a lot to be from the inside.  However I was as a result opening it up at impact to create that right spin instead of returning it to a neutral positon.  Slowing it down helped a lot as did just doing some repition work of moving the club through transitions.

Something I am going to try in the next match is using the line of the ball (for putting) to place on the tee to give me an exact target to aim at and move the club head through.  I will report back how this works in practice but on the range it worked well – with most drives being draws rather than fades and regularly getting up to close to 300 without over doing it on the effort.

 

TrackMan Putting

On a lot of the golf social media accounts I follow I have seen the guys with their TrackMan units and ipads out on the putting green.  As this is probably the weakest area of my game I was keen to get some more work done on distance control and wanted to see what the TrackMan could do.  On the course I find that since we changed my putting grip earlier in the year, my aim has been a lot better and I am sinking a lot more 4/5 footers where I am just going for the hole to sink it.   Where I struggle though is the 30 footer and the ones where you walk down the fairway thinking nice 2 putt for a par here or something along those lines.  I find the putts from distance leave me with a tricky 2nd putt all too often which creates a frustration.  I played one of the best rounds of my career last week at Dunham Forest but I still managed to 3 putt a few times.

With the TrackMan setup to a fake ‘hole’ we worked on two elements of putting:

  • Start line
  • Distance Control

Start line is important as if you aren’t starting it where you want to then you will never hole a putt or get close to it.  So the first thing I wanted to know from the TrackMan was where it started to target line and keep it as close as I could.

Once I was happy with where it was going we moved onto distance control and did some putts from 15, 20 and 25 feet.  The TrackMan could tell you exactly how far each putt was from the desired length.

Overall its all good doing this but I have to spend more time down on the green at Prestbury putting the hours in.  I probably do putting once every 4 or 5 weeks but I am going to commit to trying to do at least a session on my own once a week for the rest of the summer and see how the putting goes.

Enjoy The Open folks and the windy conditions if you get out there!

 

 

 

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