Went to play 9-holes at Pruneridge. COVID had some impact with signing in but people were out. Got in a few practice swings. Some key learnings include:
I’ve realized I do much better when I pause for 1-2 seconds on the backswing. Almost like when a quarterback checks his pass before releasing. I need to actually turn my back by tucking my right elbow even further back after pausing. Like many an instructor probably told me already, one needs to have your back facing the target to properly wind up. It also almost forces me to bend my left knee because my center of gravity has me falling backwards (or forwards) towards the target – almost making me start to sit down just as I begin the downswing. This is useful and I need to practice it more. A couple of other things too ….
- I’ve switched to a baseball grip. It’s way more manageable and puts my fingers where they need to be.
- I’ve come to realize what they mean by ‘gripping the club with your fingers.’ I’m reminded of a passage in Hogan’s book where he shows his right hand holding the club with mostly his two middle fingers. I did some online research. These two fingers are least likely to tug on the club. There a whole anatomical thing to it that basically explains why were not like apes and have the ability to do fine motor skills like writing and cutting a steak but also can bludgeon an enemy with hammer-like motions when holding a club (as in the weapon kind of club). This ability allows for incredible striking impact – such as when you use a hammer on a nail. The left hand is where the hammer motion is – and the right hand is where a lighter touch is needed as in when pitching or trying to skip a flat rock across the surface of a lake. The forefinger is the culprit that moves the club all over the place. The 2 middle fingers let you treat your hand more like the fulcrum or hinge used to lever the club. I wonder if that’s why pitchers do a lot of their stuff with their two middle fingers. And quarterback often try to eliminate the role of the pinky and the forefinger in order to throw a perfect spiral – at least that’s what it seems like. And all basketball players use these fingers for the final directional flip of the hand when going for the jumper or the 3-point shot. Watching Michael Jordan in the Last Dance I observed how he often made his shots with a separation between these two fingers and the others were off to the side. But I could just be trying to force a theory into a belief system – I have a tendency to do stuff like that. I always like to feel like I’m Indiana Jones finding the hidden secret to opening a vault or something.
- My left hand? I now use the last 3 fingers to grip the club more like a hammer. My right pinky used to cause all sorts of trouble with the pink grip because my hands never wanted to align right. Now I kinda crink it and tuck it away or lightly put it around the grip. But gripping with my 2 middle fingers has made a huge difference in club control. And treating my left hand like its swinging a hammer has also helped.
- I’m not looking at the ball so much. Not sure where I’m going to go with this new technique but I find if I look at my club head on the way back and just kinda look anywhere along the target line behind me and then turn my head to look at the ball as I make that last back tuck with my right elbow (basically the final effort of my wind up) and then start down – I’m way less nervous and anxious and I’m forced to just swing thru and forward – and I connect much better. I was pure magic on the practice matt – just drilling the ball straight with beautiful tall parabolas.
- Starting out on the 1st hole – totally different story. You’d a thunk I just picked up my clubs for the first time. Miserable. That there was a line of waiting players because everyone wanted to golf today didn’t help. On the 2nd hole – after triple bogeying a par 3 – I was dismayed and the group behind me asked if I wouldn’t mind being the 4th. I’m as anti as it gets as a golfer – kinda funny when you think about it … it IS a gentlemen’s game for socializing after all, right? – but I found myself saying yes. One guy was super smooth, the second was a judicious laboring golfer who was successful 75% of the time mostly because he focused so damn hard and the third guy was worse than me. I went second on the 2nd hole – a par 5 – and just nailed my driver, the new Ping driver I picked up last year. It drifted right but it sailed unbelievably far. I made bogey. I was pleased.
- The rest of the 7 holes were good and bad but I kept trying my new look-away-look-back technique and each time I did – Shazzam! It’s unorthodox but it just makes it feel more like I’m batting versus trying to avoid hacking up a chunk of earth – which is my biggest fear. I’m just terrified of hauling a pile of grass and dirt 10 yards in front of me. It’s nerve racking. If I wait to look at the ball just before I swing, it’s kinda like trying to make contact with a pitch. You only look over the plate when you want to connect and most of your swing just kinda happens on its own. It feels more kizmit. I’m reminded of how – what’s his name….. Jordan Speith (?) looks at the hole while putting instead of right at the ball. You know? What’s his name again? I’m getting senile.
- Also – on the 4th or 5th hole for some reason I used my Ping 7 iron instead of my Titleist. My entire set is Tiltiest – D7s or D9s or some series from back when, I don’t really know – but I had this extra Ping in the bag. For some reason it felt really good. Not sure if it was because of my changed grip or what.
- I had also changed up all the grips on my standard clubs to Lamkins – mediums. I love them but they’re thicker. That was good when I was doing the pinky grip but now that I switched to the baseball grip it’s still fine but the Ping was a smaller grip – more narrow and I felt like I had even more control with the baseball grip. But I’m not changing grips AGAIN. At least not any time soon.
- I was pleased today despite the embarrassing start. I was doing some things that I could remember and replicate – especially counting “and 2 & 3” before completing the back-swing and tucking my right elbow to face my back towards the target. That check thing really works. It even works better if I double clutch because it forces me to re-set my right foot and push off it as my left knee bends in concert with my right elbow (it’s uncanny how those two joints work in sync when it comes to bending and having a good swing sequence) and get my weight moving forward instead of staying on my right foot which oft-times results in me falling backwards after completing my swing. The other thing I’m thinking of trying is to start with weight on my left foot and keep leaning forward through my back swing but that’s a little complicated.
- Captain out.