My golf swing is currently lying in pieces courtesy of my latest lesson with my teaching pro Rhys ap Iolo at the Downshire Golf Centre last night. I'm praying when we put it together again over the winter I'm not left with that one old nut or bolt you use to get as a kid putting stuff together at Christmas.
I've had a couple of range sessions this week as my golfing comeback following my mum's death takes shape. To be honest given all that has gone on recently I was actually quite pleased at how well I had been hitting it. I assumed that Rhys would just have a refresher to ease me back in. Whether it's because he's given up cigarettes (again) or saw it as a perfect opportunity to start the re-build programme we'd discussed I had only hit a couple of shots to show him where I was (and hit them well) when he made the call.
The main faults have been well documented on here before but consist in no particular order of club across the line at the top, losing spine angle in the back swing, too shallow on the downswing into impact, too in to out as I hit the thing (trapped) and then a follow through too high and continuing down the line. Seeing it written down it's amazing I'm as close to single figures as I am. As a whole the swing works but relies a lot on what remaining natural talent I have and good timing and when the latter is out or a fault creeps in then it can go very wrong, very quickly. The somewhat ambitious goal Rhys has is to get to a 5-6 handicap but more importantly is to now build something that works better, more often than what I have now. As I'm getting on, this is the one last opportunity to find the game to move me forward. I'm not looking for textbook or visually pleasing but just a swing I can rely on and which works more often. What Rhys and I have worked on since we started together last year has given me a better ball striking year in 2012 and I have played better and scored lower than preceding years.
The starting point is to get the arms working better in the back swing. At the moment they are rotating too early and too far behind me and so not setting the club properly on the way back. In simple terms, I can't make a nice compact turn. The arms keep going and the body reacts by getting the club across the line at the top. Like anything, the more it travels in one direction, the more it has to travel to get back to the starting point and the ball. It means I have to make several adjustments which I can do when the game is on. If not the results are sometimes ugly.
If I thought it would be a simple adjustment, I was sorely wrong. As Rhys succinctly put it, what I have is ingrained deeply akin to a motorway in my golfing brain. What we did last night is a small line in the sand. We need to make the new moves into the dominant force and be able to rely on it and know it's in there most of the time. The new move takes away the early rotation but to be honest I am really struggling with it. We've broken the back swing into two separate moves. There is the better takeaway into a position halfway back and then the setting of the club correctly. I am finding the initial takeaway really hard to "feel" or visualise and when I set the club, old habits still want to bring it across the line.
I am under strict instructions not too hit balls with a proper swing but have to stand there and work religiously on getting in to position 1 correctly and then into position 2 before going on to make a swing. I'm not sure which is going to be tougher, working on the changes or resisting the urge to run before I can walk and try and hit full shots. Either a way I think it'll be a long time before I'm ready to play again. I feel like an absolute beginner again but hoping I'll coming out the other side bigger and better. Whether 5-6 is realistic as a target for 2013 I'm not 100% convinced looking at the jumbled parts lying in front of me. I just hope Rhys has the instructions and they are the English version and we have no spare parts left over at the end.