(This may be a bit technical at times, but is absolutely spot on and a cautionary tale. I think those of you who are into ball flight laws, mechanics and such will find this very interesting. Those that don’t care about such things, you will still find some important tidbits that apply to you.)
I am piecing things together and it all started with watching my swing from the National Long Drive in 1993.
I saw the swing and remembered what I did and what I was thinking. I played the ball relatively far back in my stance, had a major forward press and made the lateral move…and I totally remember having a thought to stay behind the ball so I wouldn’t move in front of it.
My hips would clear and I would release the pants off my world class lag. Now that I understand the new ball flight laws, it makes perfect sense how I hit the ball well doing it that way and created a push draw that wouldn’t go left when I was doing it right.
In hindsight, whether it was a long drive contest or a touch wedge into a green, I would get in trouble and hit it bad when I would roll on the outside of my back foot on my lateral move…or get in a rut of not allowing the club to release…or both.
Here is how it all went wrong. Each step in the wrong direction was a result of trying to do what was “correct.”
I first got rid of the lateral move, because that’s what people told me to do…and I listened. Without a lateral move, the ball was too far back in my stance, plus that was “wrong” anyways, so I moved it forward.
Don’t even get me started on how bad the forward press felt after those changes.
Now that the ball was farther forward, I started missing shots in both directions and couldn’t hit a push draw any more. This also created a problem I have constantly fought for over 10 years. When the ball was back in my stance, my shoulders would always fall right down the line.
With the ball farther forward my shoulders always want to get open to my foot line and that is a death move for me.
I am now making that lateral move again, while being careful not to roll on the outside of my right foot. I am back to having the ball back in my stance and hitting a sweet push draw. The forward press just feels to awkward now, but I am back to having my hands in front of the ball to the point my left arm and the shaft create a straight line…or close to it.
IT FEELS AWESOME.
All I need is time to get used to this feel again, as I have not experienced it for over a decade. I don’t trust it yet. The other thing I used to do was adjust ball position and face angle at address from day to day in order to get the desired ball flight.
God only knows why I stopped doing that.
Every day I trash more and more residue left over from my “doing it correctly” days. I still have some left and the more I get rid of, the better my swing feels and the better information I think I can deliver to all of you.
These changes are all helping me allow the club to release naturally. Distance and trajectory control are getting better, as is my ability to take something off a shot.
When I start trusting it, I might actually be decent again…because as one young reader can testify, I can actually putt.