I can’t remember a time in the last five years where I’ve worked on my golf game more than I have in the last two months. But going through major swing changes takes commitment, consistency, dedication, conviction, sticktoittiveness, hanginthereability, dontquityoufreakingwussitude, yourfatherthinksyou’reafailureivity, and all kinds of other made up words. And I’m in. All in.
So to recap, I’ve been transitioning from a very flat, no leverage, laid off, instruction editors from Golf Digest cover their eyes and hide their children swing, to a more upright, deeper, hinged, powerful, clear-off-the-mantle-because-room-is-needed-for-Green Jackets-US Open Trophies-Claret Jugs, and Wannamakers.
My constant companion has been a large, heavy foam wedge, that will now and forever hereafter be named “Jackson.” Those of you who recall my previous naming of this wedge with an alliterative superlative should know that in the end I felt the name was too impersonal for what has become such a key partner in my journey to golf awesomeness.
I needed a human name. A name with certain bigness. Undeniable magnitude and grandiosity and with a salute to the greatness of the past. So I changed the name of the Wedge to ‘Wedginald Jackson’ or just ‘Jackson’ for short.
Jackson is meant to help me get steeper away from and back into the ball at impact. When used correctly, directly in front of Jackson, where the ball had been, will be the most beautiful, divots you’ve ever seen in your life. And when you haven’t been taking too many divots recently, nothing looks more beautiful that a nice divot.
Seriously, if you offered me the chance to have framed pictures from the last ten Sports Illustrated swimsuit issues or of the divots from my last two lessons, the divots would have won hands down. Of course anybody hearing that revelation would also know that I would need to get special permission to hang them in my padded room in the asylum, but that’s another story…
So heading into lesson 3 with TheMan, I was really excited to show the progress I had been making and make even further giant leaps towards my rightful place at the World Golf Hall of Fame. I had just come back from playing a few rounds of golf versus my arch nemesis, the perfectly coiffed Senor Hashtag Chad Coleman, where I had taken him very unceremoniously to the South Carolina Low Country woodshed. My game was on the brink…or so I thought…
“Ok, let’s take a look…”
TheMan always delivers the same five-word knock out punch to begin the festivities.
I took a couple of swings that felt fairly representative of the game I had been rocking the past several weeks since our last lesson. Hit a couple of high wedges. Felt pretty solid. Nothing spectacular, but not terrible. Perfectly serviceable.
“Harry, we have to get that club more up and not so laid off. Here, let me show you what that looks like.” TheMan had been taking a couple of iPad videos. Uh, oh. Video don’t lie.
What I saw made me nauseous. My set up looked great. Posture and stance were good. Backswing the first 8 inches was textbook. But then what happened would make a courtroom gallery ghasp. The club lifted away from my body, my body stopped rotating, and the club turned behind me and got flat and laid off.
What. The. (Expletive deleted)! Noooooooooooooooooooo!!!!! What had happened? That couldn’t be me in the video. I mean, it looked kind of like me. Same XBomb hat and Del Mar golf shoes. The guy in the video was a little fatter than I am, in my opinion. And his swing was definitely un-Tour like. Ugh.
“Okay, we’ve got to fix this. We need you to turn steeper to get those arms steeper and higher, and we need you to get that left wrist more cocked. Has to happen. You’ve got no chance until we start doing that.”
But how, Sensei?
“I want you to feel that steep and deep sensation with your arms and I want you to feel that you’re really getting the club across the line at the top with your hands and wrists. It will feel a lot steeper and across the line, but you need to do this to get the club in the right place.”
And so for an hour in an unusually warm 85 degree day at the ECPC, I sweated my way through shot after shot of steep and deep arm and shoulder takeaway, and a totally open and across the line feeling at the top. It felt totally Couplesian. In fact, that was the mental image I was after. Steep and across the line at the top with a wide open club face.
When I could do it, the ball came out like a rocket with a nice divot. When I was flat, it was absolutely no bueno. Fat or thin all the time. Ugh to the power of Lee.
And so here I am, now working again on getting the club higher and more set at the top. I’m practicing at home swinging the club while I stand with my back to a wall. If I take it away flat without the turn, I will bang my beautiful X Hot Iron into the wall. If I do it correctly, the wall goes unscathed and I get it into the right position.
When I fail, it has a two-pronged penalty: 1) I will scuff my gorgeous iron 2) I will get yelled at by my wife who very stubbornly thinks that the condition of our walls is more important than fixing my golf swing. And I can do this drill inside since my wife has insisted that Jackson stay outdoors or in my car (she doesn’t fully appreciate the journey, evidently).
More work. More effort. More time spent with my best friend Jackson. Halfway through the lesson series but I feel like the train is back on the rails.