Finally got back out to the range since the last time (officially post-surgical range session #2). Sixteen days between them. I wasn't happy with how some things were feeling so I refocused my energy on rehab. Long way to go still, but things keep "progressing nicely" to quote Tiger 😄
So, in the days leading up to yesterday's session, I decided to focus heavily on mirror work so I had some feels nailed down and ready to go once I was ready to actually hit some balls. I wasn't going to waste any time since I was limiting the session to an hour only. I don't have the privilege of "finding it in the dirt" if you know what I mean.
After about a couple days of doing the mirror work, I decided to just try to copy Tiger Woods to see what it feels like to match his positions. I did this just for fun, but also because I thought it could be useful to my own learning. Before you say, "omg bruh stop copying any pro," I totally hear you, but I actually think with the right knowledge base, this can be smart to do sometimes, especially if it's done in the spirit of learning and understanding. Plus I was kind of frustrated with how my swing was looking in the mirror. It definitely didn't seem right, so I wanted to try to feel what Tiger does to see if I could uncover some more information about myself.
Obviously there's a lot different between what I do and what Tiger does lol, but the major pieces I noticed were the following:
1) His backswing shoulder pitch is steeper than me
2) He regains flexion in his trail knee and torso a ton in the early downswing (aka his head lowering/squatting)
I understood both these pieces were not peculiar idiosyncrasies of his swing but rather universal pieces I can acceptably adopt, especially if I was deficient in those areas and I thought they were causing me sequential problems.
On my second to last ball, I was able to get the DTL view to look like this, which I'm very excited by:
Here's a slowed down version I put on Instagram:
When you consider this is what DTL looked like during my last range session, this is a very positive difference:
That was the last swing I filmed from range session #1. My time was up (45 minutes) and I had to walk away and ponder that awful DTL view for the next two plus weeks lol. Psyched about the feels I'm using to change that picture though!
Anyway, here are some face ons. This is the first swing of yesterday (PW). Feels here to start the session were:
1) Steep Shoulder Pitch on backswing
2) Head lowers (regain flexion) in early downswing
3) Slide and rotate hips on downswing
4) Palmar flex lead wrist to lay down shaft in transition (but I was willing to ditch this feel if I couldn't juggle all four)
Not a bad start honestly:
Here's a seven iron a couple balls later:
Anyway, after I kept working (I filmed every single ball I hit yesterday), I gradually realized that regaining flexion in my trail knee was a lot more important to the sequence than I thought. For some strange reason, doing that combined with rotating/sliding/extending the hips as well as dipping the torso slightly was shallowing the club without much effort. I guess the geometry of that makes sense, but it was still surprising how addressing the trail knee's role in the early downswing affected my swing plane, at least, so far. Who knows if that will keep working, especially as I ramp up the speed.
Anyway, here's the last swing of the day:
This was a straight-as-an-arrow low bullet that went forever. I hit the wall at the back of the range (which was like 240 yards away). I'd prefer more hip slide/axis tilt and I would like to see my head lower and back, but it's not bad otherwise. I really tried to add speed to this one to see what happened and for the most part, it's promising. But jeez, squaring the knees/silding hips/rotating hips simultaneously as the downswing begins is definitely not easy for me to do and will take some work.
I'm excited by my progress so far though. To summarize the updated feels:
1) Steep shoulder pitch on the backswing
2) Regain flexion in trail knee and torso in transition/early downswing as hips slide/rotate/extend
3) Swing arms across my chest through impact
To me this is were intent needs to be taken out of golf.
I can understand if you lay the clubface open, you maybe lose reference to the bottom of the club. I think I would have some pattern recognition and realize that the sand behind the ball has changed. I mean, it would go from a crater looking lie to having a grove made behind the ball. Maybe he didn't notice, but still, it really improved his lie.
In the end, he should have been more careful. He's played for years knowing you can't touch sand. I would think that habit would make him just not come close to the sand.
I have clicked on this thread like 5 times now thinking (hoping) it was about the Minimalist school of Golf Course architecture....lol.
Anyway..I think that this form of minimalist golf is a good way to work on your game from time to time, and I even keep a pretty minimal set at my in-laws in Colorado so I can have something to play with when I visit, and it always gives me a different perspective of the game when I do that. Do I hit my hybrid and take on the nasty green side bunkers? or hit the next highest club which is the 6I and lay way back and play for an angle? Fun times.