There’s still snow on the ground here but the pro across the street has a net set up and a JC Video golf analysis system set up. So I went and hit a few balls into a net yesterday to stay loose.
I managed to figure out how to get the video system working, being the tech geek I am. I video taped a few swings and found some pretty major flaws.
The good… or the “good enough”
My setup and my takeaway both look “OK” from the front. But you can’t really see my “over the top granny upright swing plane” from the front so I’ll take that with a grain of sand (from a bunker).
My tempo seems alright too. Not too quick or jerky and fairly smooth.
I have a lack of flexibility which shows in my turn both back and through. I’m tight now as I haven’t swung a club for a couple of months so some flexibility will come back as the season progresses. But with a bad back I’m never going to be as flexible as I’d like to be.
My head is all over the place. I put a graphic marker on my head position with the video system to have something to compare head positions during my swing. Man what a nightmare. I actually thought I was keeping my head fairly still, yet during my swing my head moves back, up, down, forward and then up again. It’s a miracle I can hit the ball at all moving around like that.
The ugly, the terror, horror, OMG, kill me….
The biggest problem and concern I have is my follow through. Right after contact my left arm breaks down into the dreaded chicken wing. That jams up my left side and doesn’t allow a full release. When I freeze frame myself just at the right time you can see how completely jammed up I am at that point.
I talked to my friend the pro and he told me he knew about my jammed up chicken wing since he and I play so many rounds together. He gave me some drills to try to release and get rid of it. I tried a few, but boy is that going to take some time on the range.
More thought about this makes me realize I may be able to solve my “golfer’s elbow” problems I have with that left arm. Maybe a proper release will help this issue.
How to make yourself want to quit golf entirely
The video system has a swing comparison feature where you can bring up other swings to look at side by side with yours. Naturally I chose Tiger Woods’ swing. The video clip I used was a few years old as Tiger wasn’t as buff and he looked a little younger. It was nothing short of comedic comparing my swing with Tiger’s.
Tiger is about 10 trillion times more flexible than me and that could be an understatement.
I marked Tiger’s head position and watched in amazement as it stayed in the same position behind the ball through almost his entire swing. His head only moved down about a half an inch when he started his down swing. His head finally moved up when he was in the finish position.
I closely looked at Tiger’s release to see what he does with that left arm so I could know what to do with my chicken wing. When focusing just on his left arm it was unbelievable. That left arm stays straight practically until it reaches past shoulder level in his follow through! Unbelievable. That gives him a TON of extension and makes his swing arc huge.
One last humbling comparison I did was with the load angle. When a player cocks his wrists and is coming down to the ball there’s an angle between his arms and the club shaft. The smaller that angle, the more power he generates as that angle releases and fires through the ball. At about 1-2 feet behind the ball, I had already released. My power curve shot it’s load before impact. One to two feet behind the ball my load angle was about 48 degrees.
I freeze framed Tiger’s swing at the exact same position where my angle was at 48 degrees. Tiger’s angle in that position was an unbelievable 12 degrees.
At that point just about all I could do was laugh.
To-Do list – in order of priority
1. Learn how to release and eliminate the left arm chicken wing
2. Get better load angle and release that angle closer to the ball
3. Quiet down upper body and head movement
4. Increase flexibility
5. Take up bowling
And I thought I was the only one with that list. $35 and six weeks worth of lessons through the local Park & Recreation Department (with a Pro, no less!) took care of the chicken wing. I’m back there next year to work on items 1 and 2. At least the only chicken wing problem I have now is at the local watering hole…