Blog, Jim Mitchell, Swing Catalyst, Technology

Tech lessons: A 20 Handicapper’s Perspective

Jim having tech lesson | Peter Field Golf Shop, Norwich

“If you have further to go in your journey, are you going to choose the option with more tools for improvement or fewer?”

Confession time: I am a 20 handicapper. Though I work in the golf industry, fitting clubs, a combination of laziness and lack of time put in has meant I have languished in double digits for my entire golfing life. However, with all the amazing facilities around me, conveniently in my place of work, I’ve endeavoured to finally right that wrong, get some lessons and get that handicap down.
A common response we get when talking to club golfers about the tech facilities we have access to during lessons is “oh I’m not good enough to use all that”. The opposite is the case. If you have further to go in your journey, are you going to choose the option with more tools for improvement or fewer? You would choose the former right? That’s where tech lessons come in. With cameras, pressure plates, launch monitors and 3D motion capture at our disposal it is easy to see where the improvements will come from and how to get there, especially if you have more to work on.That is exactly what I found in my session with Lewis.

Now I slice/fade the ball and I would be willing to guess that a decent number of you readers do the same, and I’m fully aware that if my path is left of target and my face is right of target that’s going to happen. Changing it has always been something else entirely though. At the beginning of the session, I was putting my stock swing on the ball and I was pretty happy with how the ball was flying, but when we looked at my path it was 10 degrees left of target to my surprise. As I’ve played golf and adapted to my swing, I’ve been able to keep this club path in check and create a useable ball-flight but when the mishits come out the pesky path is often the culprit. To begin to combat this we looked at what I was doing with my backswing.

Using the pressure plates, Lewis identified little or zero shift in pressure towards my right foot in the backswing, with a lot of wrist and arm lift. This shows I was not using my lower body to set myself up for a good downswing, but I was lifting with my arms, getting the club behind me and over stretching which set me up to swing the club on my patented slicey path. Along with Lewis’ expertise and simple breakdowns, I could really see it unfolding on the big screens, making it a lot easier to understand why my misses come out and to be honest it explained pretty much every recurring bad shot that I have (there are quite a few!). To put me in a better position after my backswing Lewis gave me a drill in which I keep the club by the ball for as long as possible, while turning by starting heavy on my left and pushing through that foot to turn my body. We could see on the pressure plates that now I was putting much more pressure on my right foot at the top of the swing, and I was turning a lot more. This meant I was set up to swing on a much more neutral path, with more speed and more consistent strike.

Jim having tech lesson | Peter Field Golf Shop, Norwich
Before: Over-extended, not much turn or weight on back foot (only 56%).

Jim having tech lesson | Peter Field Golf Shop, Norwich
After: Following the drill. Much more turn and weight on rear foot (now 74%) and club isn’t over-extended.

Now obviously it is now down to me to put this into practise, but I’ve never left a lesson with a better understanding of why my misses were happening, how to remedy them and how to make my good shots even better. This is down to Lewis’s knowledge of human movement and the golf swing, but was made possible by utilising the technology available, showing me what is happening in my swing and what could be happening.

So, are you good enough to have a tech lesson? Yes. I don’t need to know what you play off, how you swing it or what your chiropractor’s dog’s name is, you would benefit from a tech lesson. If it works for me, it will definitely work for you!

Jim Mitchell