In my ongoing pursuit to drop my handicap I’ve been utilising all of the awesome teaching facilities that we have here at Peter Field Golf Shop. If you’ve not read my previous blog about my last session with Lewis, then check it out here to read about the continuation of my journey on tech.
What’s nice about having a consistent set of sessions with your coach is the constant presence of a long-term goal that we can work towards without having to squeeze it in to a single 1-hour session. During the process of having tech lessons, we’ve been slowly working towards the general goal of neutralising my path, to improve strike and shot shape, and don’t you know it, we’ve had some huge breakthroughs. Coming into my latest lesson I was delighted with how my irons are going, with them being the focus of our sessions thus far. My path has moved now to the point where I didn’t stray outside of 3 degrees left of target, a massive improvement from when I first started this process. This has manifested on the course, with my irons being the strongest part of the game by far, bailing me out of a lot of bad scenarios and making me excited to step on every par 3 tee box. However, with my irons flourishing there has been a problem child in my game costing me shot after shot. The driver.
My driving has been hot and cold since I picked up my first hand-me-down Ping G10, on the right day I step up to the tee and can’t wait to smoke one down the middle, however when the feel goes off the boil it’s the last place that I want to be on a golf course. During the summer months I was on a hot streak, I’d just upgraded to my Titleist TSi3 and couldn’t go wrong, but my confidence has slowly deteriorated from there and now to say my strike is inconsistent would be a kind assessment, so with that in mind we parked the irons and pulled out the big stick.
The first thing that we could see on the launch monitor was my strike was seemingly anywhere but the middle of the face! With it often sneaking towards the low heel creating a strike that couldn’t feel worse in my hands. Which is where it became apparent that a lot of the good work we’d put in with the irons, using my lower body, had gone out the window when I picked up my driver.
The first thing we addressed was my set up, I was setting up with a lot of spine tilt to allow myself to hit up on the ball, but this was preventing me from turning properly and using my lower body to guide my strike. So, we flattened out my shoulders and counteracted the benefits that spine tile brings re hitting up on the ball by moving the ball forward in my stance. Now I was able to turn properly and keep my sternum and chin pointing up more, putting me in a position at the top where it was easier for me to transition my weight from right to left, giving me extra speed and certainly a better strike.
This is where the title becomes relevant. These swings felt like it was easier for me to get a bit fast and loose with my direction as my face control was now being put into question, creating some directionally imperfect shots shall we say. If I were playing a competition next week the conversation would have been different, in the short-term I’ll certainly be a bit more dispersed with my drives as I get used to the swing changes but if we evaluate this through the lens of what I wanted to improve at the start it was a success as my strike was certainly improved.
We couldn’t have taken this approach if this was a one and done session but knowing that I’ll be returning gives us the luxury of building me a bespoke swing built on solid foundations, rather than papering over cracks with short-term fixes.