Tuesday, 9 February 2010

No Hard Hats Needed- Lesson Two

Lesson Two. No Hard Hats Needed.

Good day ladies and gentlemen, I hope you have had a good weekend. Today's entry is focussed on what was learnt from Golf Lesson Two. Gone are the days of slicing the ball and hitting the driving bay roof. Progression.

The lesson started with a review of the previous session and a quick check that I had remembered the key elements. The grip and starting stance were given the thumbs up. The next step was to look at the swing.

Now, we had cracked the initial stance and had successfully removed the hunched 'look'. I hit a few shots, some good and some bad. With the PGA coach looking on +camcorder, it was frustrating at times to miss the ball, but satisfying when a good shot was eventually hit. Next the video footage was loaded onto the laptop. in this example I was compared to the 'shark', that legend Greg Norman with his classic hat.

The key question was to establish why I could hit the ball well in one scenario but then miss or hit a poor shot there after. On looking at the video footage it was clear my initial stance was good….but as I swung the club, my head moved far more than needed.

Now then- I really do advise the use of technology and video profiling. The coach drew a square around my head (i.e. on the laptop) and it was clear that there was too much movement when the action was replayed. Greg on the other hand, as his motion was replayed stayed relatively stationary within his framework.

Now the solution: It involved head butting a pillar next to the driving bay, crazy times. No doubt there were some strange looks from the nearby golfers but it was a good exercise. The aim was to keep the head still yet allow the body to turn using one's hips. My previous style involved movement of the hips and head. The head needed to be stationary. This was potentially a 'headache' (the pun could not be resisted), my previous stance/swing had developed the bad habit of moving the head too much. The coach suggested that this was a major factor in my inconsistency, i.e. being able to hit one good shot yet then miss the ball thereafter.

Leaning against the pillar, I crossed arms over my chest and practised rotation with the head staying straight. According to the coach, this was an exercise popular with Faldo's and Tiger's coaches.

This was followed by an exercise holding the driver horizontally behind my shoulders, almost crucifix like in description. Home work for the week was to perform the above manoeuvre 1000 times, teaching the body the correct method and making it feel natural. If I rock in my sleep, perhaps I've cracked it.

I spent another hour post lesson focusing on the new technique. There was instant improvement. So much so, I decided to use the driver, it felt good and there was consistency. Mental check points included: 'grip', ' left arm straight', 'head to the right of the ball', 'feet shoulder width apart' but pointing slightly outwards. On swinging the club, attempts were made to keep the head still whilst rotating the shoulders/hips as I turned with the club, ensuring that the left shoulder reached the gap beneath my chin whilst focussing my eye on the ball. I now had an objective 'check list', and felt like there was more structure compared to my previous approach.

Comically the 'range buggy' appeared on the horizon, a caged machine collecting 'hit' balls. Although tempting to use as target practice it delayed the practice session. My mind wandered and thought whether the sheer force from a ball driven by a driver could breach the caged unit on the buggy. Quite a dangerous job.

Out of the five lessons booked, two have been completed. The jury was out, whether I should attempt the gremlins, primarily the PW and SW clubs. The advice from the coach was to focus on the long game initially rather than the short game. An interesting theory, the theory that the short game could be counter productive and dilute the teachings of the long game. With that in mind, lesson three looks like it will focus on the swing.

Key Things learnt From Lesson Two
-Posture extremely important.
-Important to keep the head still (within an an imaginary square box), rotating only the shoulders/hips.
-Practice given exercises, recommended by Faldo's and Tiger's coaches as advised by my PGA coach.
-Feet: wide just wider than shoulder width apart, pointing outwards reacher than at 90 degrees.
-Long and short game: two different ball games. Conquer one and then the next.

In the next posting I will delve into age and golf……See you then...

(PS: If you are new to my blog, check out the previous post 'The Beginning' by clicking on the link in the archive on the right).

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