A new swing to groove

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Time to kick off 2013

Henderson, NV 01/08/2013

It’s taken a couple of weeks, but I think I’m finally over the depression that set in after my rather poor performance at The Winter Classic.

Even though I knew going into it that my game was nowhere near where it needed to be in order to compete, it still hit me pretty hard. Going out with my friends and putting up some ridiculous scores after all the time I put in this past year was quite embarrassing. But, it’s time to let that ship sail and get back to the grind.

A new swing to groove.

I’ve spent a lot of time emailing back and forth with Wade going over this new swing I’m implementing. We’ve even used Skype a few times (the Skype app for the iPhone is GREAT by the way) and because of that we have been able to really get into understanding the Ballard swing and I can see first hand the drills Wade is talking about.

It’s been an eventful couple of weeks to say the least and I’m really starting to understand MY swing more than ever. I’m spending about 30-40min a night, sometimes more, in the garage grooving this new swing and a few nights ago I had what I consider a HUGE breakthrough. More on that in a minute.

Everybody has swing faults, even some of the best in the world have them. One of my swing faults that I have is an “over the top” move that over the years has been a massive thorn in my side. I’ve tried everything to get myself broken of this bad habit but unfortunately what I’ve done over the past years is mearly adapted to it. The good side of that is I’ve been able to shoot some decent scores with a flawed swing. The bad part is that’s all I was ever going to be able to accomplish, and if I continued down that path I would have been a mid level 90’s player for the rest of my life. Not wanting that and wanting very much to be better has made this change somewhat easier to deal with.

I did see some signs of life during the Winter Classic. When I did things right or the correct way, it was VERY good. The problem was there wasn’t enough of the good to make a showing or a difference. What happened at The Chase was so frustrating I almost lost it, almost. Had it not been for an uber outstanding 3W from about 240 yards, over water, on  the Par 5 16th, which I birdied, my day might have ended with me throwing my entire bag in the lake along with myself! That shot though showed me that when it all comes together the good, is VERY good.

That outstanding 3Wood, along with my good start out at The Chase has really made me focus a lot more over the past two weeks. That’s where this breakthrough I mentioned earlier came from. I’m somewhat of a video junkie, I try to record my swing as often as I can just to have my swings on record. As I watched over and over the video’s I’ve recorded of my swing lately it’s easy to see that I still haven’t been able to get the club to come down and in from the inside, it’s ALWAYS an over the top motion. Frustrated as everm, I sat down one night with Jimmy Ballards book and just dug in to the section about the down swing and firing from the right side. As I was reading it I kept seeing visions in my head of me swinging a baseball bat, don’t ask me why I still have no clue why that happened, but it really got me thinking and before I knew it I was standing in front of a mirror taking baseball swings.

Those of you not familiar with my past, I swing from the left side with a baseball bat. My Dad tought me to hit switch-handed and as I got older the left side just felt more natural. Not having any left-handed clubs and all my friends that played golf being right-handed I had to learn how to play golf right-handed. OK, back to the mirror. As I stood in front of the mirror in my left-handed stance I imagined a ball coming in and took a swing in slow motion. I instantly noticed something that’s been completely missing from my right-handed golf swing. As I took that slow motion swing my left knee darted in and towards the target. Now I’m not completely oblivious to the golf swing, I understand that the down swing is initiated with the hips but watching my knee fire in on the baseball swing I finally got an understanding of not only how but why it’s happening.

I couldn’t get out to the garage fast enough and put this to the test and after some time I, for the first time in forever, finally recorded a swing where I saw the club drop down and come to the ball from the inside and let me tell you, it looked sweet!

In my follow-up with Wade about my breakthrough we went over some more items that he believed would help me. When we played out at The Chase I recorded a face on swing. Wade was too excited to see this, up until then all he had seen was a down the line view and with the face on view he now had a some great input that helped like I couldn’t believe. First thing he noticed was my stance. Although it was wide enough and my posture was fine, my back foot was toe’d out too much. Wade also added that when I started the back swing instead of allowing my body to turn and get over my back leg I was sliding my right hip out and getting myself in a perfect reverse pivot. The worst possible position you want to be in to strike a golf ball.

Wade went over what I needed to do to fix that flaw and I went right work.

What amazed me most, and still even now as I type this out, is how after I made the adjustment to get me right side weight onto my right side how much more I could feel the torque building up in my right knee. When prior to this adjustment as I made the back swing my core was centered and it was my hips moving back. Add in the right foot being toed out and it’s easy to see why I never felt that build up if a coil in my lower leg. Now as I’m practicing I can feel that build up every swing and it’s becoming much more natural to know when to release all that built up tension.

The grooving of this new swing is going to take some time, but like I said earlier, I’m starting to understand my own swing. That’s something that is very new to me and I like it. I always thought that I knew my swing rather well, but I’m starting to realize that I’ve never fully understood what’s been taking place. Thankfully, with Wade’s Help, I’m beginning to understand what’s happening in every part of the swing and I think it’s going to be an incredible help down the road.

I’m going to take a few days of rest from all these practice sessions and get out and enjoy myself this weekend. Andrew G. from St Louis is coming out to Vegas for the weekend and we have some fantastic golf lined up. I havent enjoyed myself out on the golf course in a while, maybe since Death Valley, so I’m really looking forward to a stress free couple of rounds and just having a good time on some outstanding golf courses.

 

Follow Mathew Wangrycht:

Writer and founder of the golf blog The Breakfast Ball. My wife will tell you I'm obsessed with the game, she's right! It's that obsession which drives me to become a better player and make this site enjoyable for everyone.

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