A new chapter with Dustin starts… so much to talk about!

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First lesson with Dustin shows some promise.

I’ll try my best to keep from rambling too much but like the title says I have a lot to talk about!

My last post I talked about the round I shot out at Rio Secco. Well, I followed that up with an even better round this past Sunday out at Primm Valley. My final score was a 93 equaling my lowest recorded round so far. I don’t think I played as well as I did at Rio, but Rio is a MUCH harder course than the Desert Course at Primm Valley.

I didn’t start off great but was able to get it under control around the third hole and played what I like to think was a very smart, manageable round of golf.

My putting let me down again. Although it was a vast improvement over my performance at Rio there are signs of things starting to improve. It’s just going to take some dedication on my part to make it happen.

In between the two rounds of golf my first lesson with Dustin, from The Nicklaus Golf Academy, took place. I can’t explain in words the level if excitement I’m feeling about the lessons. In our first session we started from scratch and began from the begging of the golf swing, the grip. If you’ve read much of the this blog you’ll easily recall my frequent changes to my grip just trying to find something that works. Since June of this year I’ve been playing with a 10 finger grip, and with some success I might add. Not great success, but somewhat consistent. Well, I’ve done it again. This time I went back to my roots from when I very first started playing golf when I was a teenager. The “Overlap” or the “Vardon” grip as its most commonly known is here to stay. I swear I’m trying to say that with a straight face, but hear me out and see if you think I’m done with the grip changes.

The first thing I notice different about my swing when I grip the club with the Overlap style is how much more relaxed my hands are. I’ve often described the amount of pressure I apply to a golf club as “Attempting to strangle a mannequin.” and how bad is that for your swing? Well it’s not good that’s for sure! Dustin put me through a few quick little tests to determine the hand position for my left hand and then with an adjustment to my right hand he got me into what I now can call “My Golf Grip”

Before that adjustment my right hand was too far to the right and my thumb was either directly down the shaft or to the right of it. Dustin explained and showed me why that’s not a good place for the right thumb. That change along with the overlap grip came together beautifully. Never, EVER has the club felt so good in my hands. Swinging with it, now that’s something different. I’ve been in a bad position with my right hand for so long it going to take a little while for it to feel as good swinging as it does at address. Hence the two horrible holes that started my round at Primm. I was so tempted by the time the third hole came up to resort back to my old hand positions. On the tee box I even held the club in my hands in that old setup before I realized that I was taking lessons for a reason and I didn’t want the time I spent with Dustin to be for nothing. Thankfully so, because the more I swung with it, the better the feeling of this new grip got!

For the past five days every change I get I’m grabbing a club and holding it with “my grip” and this week in the garage my swing has felt better than ever. What has helped lead to that is the other part of the lesson where Dustin is helping me get my club-face square at impact. I’ve known how important it is to the game of golf to have a square club-face at impact, that’s a no brainer. But, what I haven’t known is why I haven’t been able to do it. That is what makes having a teaching professional so valuable. Dustin walked me though some drills and gave me some direction on how I could work on them at home and on the practice range.

We touched on a few things with my Driver and my putter, but that’s going to get more in-depth further down the road. Square club-face at impact is #1 priority and that’s what I’ve been told to focus on

For my first lesson I was very happy with how it went. My biggest concern with taking a new approach and begining lessons was an instructor who says “Do this.” without explaining why or “trust me, just do it you’ll see.” I’m so over analytical, I need to know the why just as much if not more than the because and not once did Dustin ever have me work on something without explaining to me why and that was a huge relief.

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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