My irons have improved this year, but my swing hasn’t felt quite right (especially on drives), so today I sought some professional help in Virginia.
I learned that I was doing a few nasty things
- Hitting the ball off the heel (or near it).
- Hitting down on the ball (not good for drives), and tilting my spine towards the target.
- Swinging out-to-in
- Taking the club away way faster than I needed to (That speed doesn’t translate into swing speed.
Lessons are always hard to explain if you were’t there, but here’s my best explanation of what we did about these ills.
1. We set metrics for success. My angle of attack was around 6 degrees down and my club path was about 11 degrees to the left. My goal for the day was to get both numbers to zero or better (although the instructor recommended aiming for bigger shifts, since exaggeration is often the best way to counteract something).
The spine tilt we addressed by making sure I turn my right hip, rather than shifting it backward (which tilts my spine). I also consciously tilted a bit back as I swung. I was able to knock the attack angle down close to zero, and even had a few that were two or three degrees positive. This drastically increased distance and lowered spin.
Getting to swing in-to-out was more of a challenge. The instructor showed me a hula hoop representing my ideal swing path, and I visualized swinging along it towards the right fence. Eventually I ended up hitting some drives within 2-3 degrees of zero, producing nice draws rather than fades.
Those were the two big corrections we worked on, but we also made two smaller tweaks.
First, I stood farther from the ball to stop my hitting the ball off the heal and take full advantage of the driver’s sweet spot.
Second, I slowed down my takeaway. It was unnecessarily fast, wasting energy and making it harder to work on the elements of the backswing and downswing that I needed to improve my driving.
Every swing was on Trackman and video, which made it nice and easy to measure progress.
After the lesson, I went to the range and hit around 80 balls to ingrain the changes. I used my Flightscope Mevo, which provided some nice hints as to progress, but, lacking the two angle metrics I was using on the trackman, wasn’t perfectly helpful for the task. Wary of overuse injuries, I called it quits on my golf swing after emptying my bucket, satisfied with my work for the day.
After that, I put in around 90 minuted of putting work, listening to an audiobook on Herbert Hoover, and working on distances from 2-20 feet.
Initially I was unhappy with my speed control, then I began picking intermediate targets within a few feet of impact and visualizing the speed I’d like putts to have as they passed each spot. My make percentage skyrocketed. I think this will be very helpful going forward.