After years of trying to swing the club I have now committed to hitting exclusively. I have always wanted to be a swinger, there is something about the concept that seems to be almost magical in its nature. Swing the club with gravity and just let the ball get in the way.
Easy peasy right? Why would anyone have a different approach?
Well, in my case, the swing philosophy just doesn’t work. I can hit every bad shot in the book with this concept and the only thing consistent is the vast variety of possible outcomes!
I think, for me, the trouble lies in the fact that, when swinging, I don’t have a clearly defined intent in my mind, “just swing the club, let ball get in the way”. Yuck, mushy intent with yucky mushy results.
So one day, when my frustration at hitting my third topped shot in a row, “just swing…” I said to myself, “to hell with this magical swinging crap, I’m going to focus exclusively on tearing a little piece of mother earth outta the ground just in front of this golf ball and to hell with form and balance and grace and all that other crap.” Well I proceeded to take a couple of practice half swings making sure to whack the ground good and solid just ahead of where my ball would be and the stepped up and repeated with a ball. My only focus and intent was to make god damn sure I ripped up some dirt and inch or two in front of the ball. CRACK!!! The ball took off in a way it never has before, it even spun back a little when it hit the green. When I got to my ball I could clearly see the rough scuff mark from where my descending blow had ripped into it. I thought to myself, “good lord, that was a half-swing!”
Since that day, late towards the end of last season, every practice session’s focus is making that proper ball first, divot taking contact with a solid flat wrist. 90% of the swings I take are half or three quarter swings and I’m slowly working my way up to longer swings but NEVER at the price of losing that perfect chip like contact. In fact when this season starts up, I’ll play half swing golf all year if I have too, heck the better contact makes up for any lost distance anyway.
Now I realize that swinging versus hitting is largely conceptual but it makes a real difference to me. Now I have a clear intent on every swing, hit through that stupid ball and dig some dirt, everything else is window dressing and sauce. YMMV.
Here’s a little drill I’ve been doing in my basement this year. I take piece of 2x4 and put two pieces of painters tape on it, about 4 inches apart. The first piece represents ball location and the second piece is where I want my club to bottom out. I then work my way from short to longer swings making sure a strike that 2x4 right on that second piece of tape. I’m trying to train my brain to 1) strike through the ball and bottom out on the front side 2) not to fear hitting the ground, a subconscious fear that leads to breakdown of the flat left wrist and sometimes retraction of the arms (the opposite of straight arms). I use a camera once in a while to insure that my head is stable but luckily that seems to be at least one piece that I have no problem with.
Anywho…just my opening thoughts for 2013. Interested to hear comments from fellow trappers, both hackers and pros.