Posts Tagged ‘GolfTec’

GolfTec Lesson: Weight Shift through the Swing

September 16, 2008

I went in for my first lesson in about a month and was pleased to find out I could move on from a total focus on the backswing.  This time, we focused on getting my swing properly loaded up on my right heel on the backswing and then shifting weight to the left foot and ending facing the target after hitting the ball.

I told my instructor that if I picked a spot on the ground to aim at for my practice swing, the club head would consistently come through inside that mark.  I’ve had problems with lifting my upper body as I swing, so I thought that might be the cause.

Instead of upper body, my instructor had me work on this weight shifting issue because I was coming up artificially high on the backswing with my arms, not really putting my weight on my back (right) foot.  This caused my swing to kind chop down too far inside, on too vertical a plane.  What I should have been doing was shifting my weight straight down into my right heel, creating more of a wind up, so that my swing followed the natural arc through where the ball was with a weight shift to the left through the ball.

My instructor gave me a few drills to work on this:

•    Do the whole swing with feet completely together. To maintain your balance, you’ll have to do the weight shift and this will give you a feel for how it should be in your regular swing.

•    Do the backswing standing on only your right foot, and switch to only your left as you transfer your weight through the swing.

•    Use a chair to mark how far back to go on the backswing and how far forward to go on the follow-through.  Your body should be perpendicular to the ground on both the back swing and the finish, not leaning too far in either direction.

Working on this has noticeably improved my swing, particularly with irons.  The next time I went out to play, I hit the ball much more solidly and consistently with the irons.  That’s about all that improved, but I’ll take it.

GolfTec Putting Lesson: Modified Claw Grip

September 2, 2008

My first putting lesson resulted in a totally new grip. I had been using a conventional grip with my left index finger and right pinkie interlaced. I was struggling to keep my wrists stable and had way too much wiggle in my stroke. My instructor tried out various grips with me and settled on a modified “claw” grip. My left hand goes in the club as usual, but the right hand comes in from behind the club so that the club rests in the “V” between the thumb and index finger, with the thumb and fingers all extended forward. Some claw grips have the thumb and fingers pointing towards the hole (see this Sports Illustrated story), or coming from behind but wrapped around the grip. The modification my instructor gave me seemed to provide the most stable movement for me. My instructor had me adjust my stance so that the ball was closer to my front foot, rather than in the center of my stance. He also had me get closer to the ball so that when I looked down at it, my head was basically over the ball. I have seen improvements from the increased stability of this grip. On the long road ahead, at least this is a start.

GolfTec Lesson: Arms on the Backswing

July 29, 2008

Golftec Lesson: Arms on the Backswing

My last GolfTec lesson focused on my arms on the backswing. Yes, still the backswing.

On the arms, I had been bringing my arms around practically behind my head, left arm bent, right elbow sticking straight out, club parallel to the ground with face totally closed. My “before” swing was not pretty sight. (In GolfTec, you end up with a “before” swing and an “after” swing that you can play back when you log in to your lesson online.) The goal was still to get my arms out away from my body, left arm straight, right arm tucked under at the correct angle. My instructor had me bring my arms back to where the top of the backswing should be, focusing on the correct form, several times, and then complete the swing from there. Another exercise was to complete the backswing while holding a golf glove under my right arm to help keep it tucked in. It exaggerates the position a little, but helps you get a feel for it. Another drill my instructor suggested for me to practice was to put my back against a wall or hedge and (gently) practice both the back and front of the swing. This keeps you from bringing the club way back behind you and helps keep your arms out. My “after” swing was a huge improvement, but the challenge will be getting consistent with this and making it my default backswing.

Take My Backswing… Please.

July 23, 2008

I headed out to the range today to practice the drills I’d been assigned in my last lesson at GolfTec. My focus has been my backswing: keeping it controlled, not turning too far back, keeping my lower body stable, and keeping my left arm straight and out away from my body. Focusing on all these aspects at once and incorporating them smoothly into a swing is next to impossible. Assimilating tons of corrections at once has to be one of toughest parts of being a beginners, when just about everything about the swing needs to be fixed. Following are some of the drills my instructor gave me to help with this challenge:

• Making “L’s” with the arms/wrist at the back of the backswing, and again at the front of the swing. This has helped quite a bit, especially when I remember to make a deliberate effort to include it in my backswing.

• One-handed swings with the right and left hands separately. This is done with the gripping hand choked up with the index finger touching the metal past the grip. There should be “L’s” at the back and front of the swing and the idea is to get a sense of how the forearm rolls over through the swing in a natural motion. This did help me get a feel for what the right swing should feel like naturally, with both arms completing this motion in tandem. I struggled to do this while I was focusing on L’s on the backswing and keeping my left arm straight. Maybe just too many things to remember at once.

• Stopping the back swing when arms reach perpendicular around waist level, then resuming the back swing in a controlled manner to the top and finishing the swing as normal from there. This is supposed to help keep you from going too far on the backswing and preserve the power of your swing. I felt a stronger “wind up” at the end of the swing that should translate into more power. This also ties into keeping the lower body stable – in my case, not letting my hips turn practically 90 degrees on the backswing. However, I found that breaking up my swing made it hard to make good contact with the ball. I messed up most of the shots I attempted with this, but I recognized the body position I was supposed to learn, I think.

My takeaway from all this… golf is going to be a lifetime pursuit, and I have nowhere to go but up.