Wednesday, 15 June 2011

On The Right Path

I had a lesson last night with my teaching professional Paul Harrison at Maidenhead Golf Centre.

It's been a while since we had a look at my full swing as we've been putting in the hard yards on the Linear method of chipping. I still had an issue with this, particularly on the very short chips and so we split the lesson in two with a fifteen minute refresher on the short game and the rest giving my full swing an MOT.

Chipping wise I am struggling when there isn't much distance between the ball and the flag, say just going over a collar of green to a tight flag a few paces on. I couldn't get it right or find a swing speed to execute. It turns out I'd been over complicating things again and moving my weight about, not only too much but in the wrong direction through the shot. After simplifying it back down I feel more confident over the shot. I dare say on the course it will be a different proposition but we'll wait and see.

Having cured one problem it was onto the main swing. I've been striking the ball really well of late and so I was nervous about Paul making any wholesale changes especially with a few trips to different courses coming up and the first round of my Volvo Pairs knockout with my partner Mike Stannard next week (representing Golf Monthly into the bargain). He watched me hit a few and was reasonably impressed. It seems the swing itself is pretty functional at the moment and the real issue he had was with my address position. My posture had slumped a little and my arms were tucked in towards my chest which meant I wasn't really giving myself as much room as I might to make my turn.

He has gotten me to stand much more upright in a more athletic position with a softer knee flex and the arms extended out more (without over reaching). It was such a simple and subtle change but the result was massive. I feel as though I have so much room through the hitting area. It has got rid of a lot of the misses left which Paul explained was down to being so cramped at impact. It is an area that is easy to let bad habits come back into and so I need to pay particular attention to my posture at any practice session I do. He has shown me on video how I should be standing and has suggested I take regular pictures of my posture to make sure I am not slouching and the hands aren't tucking in.

This is what we're aiming for

Other than that little tweak I am pleased to say the overall swing has passed its MOT with flying colours and whilst we both recognise it isn't perfect or even textbook, it has the makings of something repeatable now. I went back to the range tonight to work on it and I have to say the prognosis is good. I feel that the ball is perhaps a few yards longer (hard to tell with range balls) as I've more room to come down and through onto the ball and it is definitely coming off the clubhead nicely. If there was a down side it is trying to find a balance between extending the arms correctly and over-stretching particularly with the longer clubs and the driver especially. When they were good they were fantastic but some felt awkward at address and the outcome wasn't pretty. This is where the over-reaching crept in.

All in all then a very worthwhile exercise last night and time well spent tonight. I need to keep working on the driver, but if we can get this on song then I've a feeling there is another good score looming large. It's just a shame that the forecast for my round at Windlesham on Friday is less than favourable but it's a round of golf, on a working day, so I think we can put up with a bit of rain and wind. And it's a freebie. To be honest I'm buzzing and really can't wait to try it out on the course. Naturally the chances of translating it from range to first tee are slim, but the lesson has re-energised my self-belief and the fact that Paul is so pleased with progress to date and confirmed we're a long way down the right track has made all the effort seem worthwhile. Cue one Happy Homer.

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