Friday, June 27, 2008

Dr. Joel - The swing Doctor

I had another great lesson with Dr. Joel yesterday. Because of the smoke created by a local fire in Avondale, we had the lesson inside the Kent Chase Golf Academy building. They have a nice setup in there with a mat, net, large mirrors, and a video camera.

Joel immediately showed me some basic flaws that I had in my setup, back swing, down swing, and finish. He told me that there are 3 basic steps to the golf swing (and the swing in any other sport like tennis, and baseball). 1) Load 2) Shift and 3) Release....or something to that effect.

The flaws I had were:
  • Setup - I need to relax the shoulders, and my arms should hang directly below my shoulder sockets. I had my hands a little close to my body. My posture could be improved as well with a little more of a "sitting down" feeling.
  • Back Swing - This part of my swing needs a little more work, but the good news is that with a good back swing, I am perfectly set up for a great down swing. I'm going to break the back swing up into the 1st half and 2nd half.
    • First half - Keep the club out in front of my hands. I tend to let the club head get behind my hands early. However, in keeping the club in front of my hands, I shouldn't tense up my shoulders and elbows. The right elbow should start to bend earlier than it does now. One thought that helped me in the first half was to start loading and turn the hips, keep the left wrist in the same position and just begin lifting the club.
    • Second half - Stay on the same plane angle as address. My plane at this point tends to be steeper. Hands should still be in the "triangle" created by the shoulders and the arms...they shouldn't be in front or behind this triangle. My left shoulder tends to be too high, in other words I don't keep my posture.
  • Down swing - Again two halfs
    • First half - Keep the posture, keep the club lag and just shift the weight to the left side. Don't engage the right side to early.
    • Second half - Now engage the right side and hit the ball!
  • Finish
    • First half - Extend the arms
    • Second half - Fold the arms in what Joel calls the "Pro finish". My finish tends to be too high. Watch the right heel...it should be directly above the right toe.
Drills that will help:
  • Get set up properly to the top of the backswing and then practice the first half of the downswing. Make sure I'm in the correct position and then do a slight "pump" and swing through to the balanced finish.
  • Without a club, cross arms, put hands on shoulder and practice the 1) Load to right side 2) Shift to left side 3) Finish with heel over toe. I can work on leg work and hip work with this drill.
  • With only the right hand on the club, place the left hand on the right arm, just above the elbow. Practice a perfect backswing and downswing. This will help me keep my right elbow loose and bending correctly. I tend to keep this too tight. Joel kept saying that my elbows are shock absorbers, which I don't completely understand right now but will eventually.

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