Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Regression Day

What's the last thing you want to happen after your best round of golf for months? Well, apart from such horrific things as being brutally murdered, you must surely have an involuntary three weeks away from the game somewhere in your list, right?

Well, that's what happened to me on Sunday, and unfortunately the predictable happened: I suck totally: again. Especially with the irons: again. However, there was a silver lining in that my chipping was the best I can remember it ever being. I think the rule of hitting down on the ball finally sunk in, and I was chipping with a range of different clubs depending on the amount of green I was working with, to good effect.

So, for a change the short game saved the round and I again scored consistently with what I've scored in the recent past. I can't say for sure because the light got the better of us once again, so we had to stop. As yet another twist of fate would have it, we had to stop just as I noticed something I was doing wrong. You see, my body has been lying to me.

Some time ago I read pretty much everywhere about the arms beginning the downswing, and dropping down before anything else turns. I programmed this into myself and had thought that it had become one of those automatic things you don't need to think about (keeping my left arm straight has been automatic for me for some time now: confirmed by video footage). However, I realised two holes from the end of the shortened round that I in fact wasn't doing this at all and my body was turning to drop the arms, rather than them dropping by themselves. This puts the club head on a clear and unstoppable path to an outside-in line, and an inevitable slice or pull. Well, that certainly explains a lot...

So anyway, I now find myself in a position where I can go to the driving range in the evenings after work, so I can actually go there to just practise instead of to warm up before a round. That being the case, I've decided that I'm going to forget about my earlier resolution to not change anything and go right ahead and change, well, everything.

You see, I just found this rather excellent site with an extremely well-written guide on how to swing the club properly. It concentrates on building a correct swing from the ground up instead of fixing your existing swing. This is good because as far as I can see my current swing is simply beyond repair.

The tutorial starts here:


The bit that really struck me was lesson 9. It describes someone doing the backswing totally wrong. Someone who creates a concave body shape on the target side of the body, with big hip shift and wobbly leg action. That person is me: I saw myself in those pictures, and it made me realise that I really do need to change quite a bit if I want to improve.

So, if it's nice after work I might go to the driving range again tomorrow. Hopefully I can really figure something out and get on track to actually breaking 100 one day...


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