I started working with Steve in August 2014. He had golf day the following week (a familiar story!) and wanted to brush up on a few things before he played so he booked six lessons.
Don’t get me wrong, Steve had some really good things going for him. He aimed well, had a pretty good hold on the club bearing in mind his tendencies and was turning well on the backswing but on his full swing with irons his main shot patterns were clear:
- He was striking the ground behind the ball
- The ball was ending up left of his target (a lot!)
It’s important to note that the two things often go hand-in-hand. The clubhead can easily twist to the left if it strikes the ground early.
Also, a swing in which the arms dominate can cause both of Steve’s main shortcomings. We wanted to improve those two main things and:
- Strike the ball FIRST and the ground SECOND. Even a thinned shot will work out OK but golfers can’t hit the ground first and get away with it
- Improve accuracy to keep the ball in play
Swing in lesson one
So we immediately changed his stance. He was too close to the ball and the ball position was forward of centre for mid irons – a big mistake bearing in mind his tendencies.
Having fixed that we focused on turning the body to face his target (specifically the hips and knees). This helped to get the arms and body working together better and Steve liked his new swing thought – swing through the ball, not at the ball. Swing like the ball doesn’t even exist!
In the next lesson we worked on staying centred over the ball. Steve was swaying to the right in the backswing which, in effect, moved the bottom of his swing that way too. If he shifted his weight brilliantly through the ball, he’d strike the ball well but he didn’t do this often enough to be consistent.
Steve focused on staying more centred on the backswing. I held a club just to the right of his head and encouraged him to not touch it with his head. His goal was to turn well still (which was one of his strengths) but to keep his sternum pretty much over the ball. That, in turn, meant that when he made his good move through the ball learned in lesson one, he struck the ball first.
Swing in lesson two. More centred
His ball striking improved hugely from this point on and the ball wasn’t going left any more. A tweak of the grip pressure and he was hitting straight and true.
The other lessons were spent learning the driver swing and Steve needed some short game advice too. The idea for chipping and pitching was to skid the club head along the ground so that even an average attempt collected the ball and threw it into the air.
He picked this up quickly and was able to put it into practice when we used some of his pre-booked time to go onto the course for a ‘playing lesson’ where we talked strategy, club selection, course management and Steve had a chance to put his new skills into action.
All this was achieved in just a few weeks!