It was lesson time again on Thursday. Whilst I am making tiny steps forward with the new swing, there are a number of old habits still belligerently refusing to budge which are holding back progress. A nagging hip slide instead of a turn is one of the main ones and is resulting in the club still coming into impact way too shallow and inside the line. It's about as far away from what a one plane impact should be as possible. Still if you are going to make a mistake, make it a big one!
I still have a very clear picture of what the swing should look like in my head but Rhys wanted to try a plan B and change the grip and go to a two plan swing and take the club away far more upright in an attempt to give the swing the steepness is desperately requires. Whilst I wouldn't say I was overly thrilled at the change, I'm prepared to give anything a go and we worked on it. I left with a fresh image in my mind and a plan to hit the range the next day and work on it.
Friday dawned mild and dry and I diligently headed off to Maidenhead Golf Centre to try and find a way to hit the bloody thing properly. I have to be honest and say plan B was an unmitigated disaster. I've spent so long since December working on the one plane swing I really couldn't find a way to take the club back and return on a steeper path in a way that produced a good conduct.
In the end I made the executive decision to revert back to plan A and stick with the one plane move. I've said to Rhys my teaching pro that I'll find a way to conquer the hip slide for a sharp rotation of the hips (think of the way a baseball player hits it) and that we can then introduce a steeper path once I have the club moving in the right direction. It might be a longer process but hopefully it'll capitalise on the work to date.
Having made my decision and hating to have nagging doubts in my mind I went back to Blue Mountain Driving Range in the evening to get a bucket of balls with the sole purpose of focusing on impact and turning properly. The results were encouraging and I began to make the sort of contact I had been in the run up to Christmas and in subsequent practice sessions and as I dropped off to sleep last night it bode well for the roll up game at Royal Ascot this morning.
I hit some balls to warm up and sure enough back came the hip slide. Still, I was resolute to think once I hit the course the mind would focus and all would be well. That lasted into impact on the first shot. A horrible skyed effort out of bounds which left a scuff mark on the crown and toe of my beloved three wood. The tone was set.
My partners Mace and Stewart were having issues of their own and we were hardly inspiring each other and feeding of the good shots. I did make a birdie at the 4th. The three wood was skinny and thinned right, ending up back onto the 3rd fairway but I hit a good nine iron to five feet and converted. Aside from that, there were precious few highlights to enjoy. The swing wasn't functioning and the more I thought about tempo, hip slide, follow through etc the more it became a pickle. I hit a good drive and second shot down the par 5 last hole which pleased me although the five iron into the wind had more than an element of "pond avoidance" and was never going anywhere near the water by the right of the green and ended up missing the green way left.
On the plus side the putter worked well. There were a few good chips despite not having worked on the short game and we were round in three and a half hours and didn't get wet. On the downside all the good things I'm doing at the range fizzle and fade as soon as I step onto the course. I could be a glass half full type of guy and say it was the first game in a month and so I was rusty but I think the truth is it goes much deeper than that. Its four ball better ball competition time tomorrow and I'm hoping my partner will drag me on his coat tails and I can find some sort of form.
Plan B is dead. Long live Plan A.