A Shift in the Right Direction

I am extremely proud to be working with Hooters Tour Professional Kris Lim.  Kris is an extraordinary young man, whose desire to excel is only exceeded by his desire to understand the fundamentals of the golf swing.  Kris did not come to the Rotary Swing Golf Academy looking for quick fixes to improve his game immediately; he came to us seeking answers to questions that were not able to be provided to him through “traditional” instruction.  He was tired of hearing that his swing looked great; he wanted results.  Kris is a prime example of the type of change that is possible through intellectual understanding and kinesthetic awareness that comes as a product of structured practice that focuses on the anatomical absolutes.

In previous forum posts, I provided some examples of how we first began a little over a month ago.  We started by addressing Kris’s Setup and perfecting Move 1 (The Takeaway).  As these elements improved, we introduced proper shoulder elevation to keep the club working on a proper plane throughout the backswing.  Today is November 23, and it was time for some serious business…Move 3 (The Downswing).  Kris is a prime example of a golfer who would rotate his hips without ever making a proper weight shift into the left heel.  The results of this dastardly movement can be illustrated from the picture below.

On the left side is a trace of Kris’s swing path.  The red line represents his backswing, and the yellow line represents his downswing.  It becomes quite clear Kris was over the top which resulted in many “wiped” shots that would weakly balloon and fade.  On the right side, you can plainly see Kris’s failure to shift that left hip which left him well short of Neutral Joint Alignment.  Kris’s weight is now trapped on his right side which results in the excessive axis tilt and his head backing way up as he comes into impact.  He never covers the golf ball effectively, and fails to compress or flight the shot the way he desires.  Due to his improper origin of movement, the more he would try to cover the ball, the more fat shots he would hit.

Now let’s examine footage from the lesson on November 23.  On the left, you can see a significant improvement in Kris’s swing path.  The red line represents his backswing, and the yellow line represents his downswing once again, but take note the orientation of the lines are dramatically different.  Due to the backswing improvements, Kris takes the club on a much better plane, and is capable of keeping the club in front of his body.  A proper weight shift, planting the left heel and pulling from the left oblique allows the club to shallow slightly and attack the ball from the inside (note the yellow downswing line is underneath the red backswing line).  On the right half of the picture, you can see Kris’s head has not backed up nearly as much, and the axis tilt is improved.  Kris’s left hip has shifted toward the target before he unwinds the hips which allows him to get into NJA at impact.

I want to mention at no time during this lesson did we talk about swing plane or what the club was doing; we focused solely on proper origin of movement in the downswing.  The golf swing needs to be based on a pull-pull relationship in order to abide by the laws of physics of rotary motion.  Kris serves as an excellent model of what can be achieved by focusing on how the human body is designed to work.  While we have lots of work left to do, Kris is finally traveling on the road to success.  RST provides the road map for this journey…want to follow along?

“300 Workout” – Best Golf Lesson I’ve Ever Given Myself

I’m not sure if you’ve ever seen the movie “300” but those guys were put through a grueling workout to get themselves into the phenomenal physical conditioning they were in to play the part of the Spartans. A couple men’s health magazines put together some workouts called the “300 Challenge”. I’ve kind of done the same thing, but for a very different purpose. Everyone has likely heard that it takes 3,000-5,000 repetitions to develop a habit. That’s a LOT of repetitions, and especially when it comes to learning movements in the golf swing. But, I’ve committed myself to making changes in my golf swing for longevity purposes and to enjoy pain free golf for years to come.

Many of you have watched Alison Thietje’s presentation videos on her website and there is a ton of great information on there, some of which is what I’m working on with my “300 Workout” I started today. In an effort to engrain some changes in to the biomechanics of my golf swing, I decided to do 300 slow motion golf swings in front of a mirror focusing on the changes that I’m making in my swing and this morning was the first “workout”. It was more challenging than I originally thought but incredibly insightful in the end and probably the most productive time I’ve ever spent working on my golf swing. Below I’ve chronicled this first workout so you can see what it was like.

9:30 am – Takes about 5 minutes to do 20 swings, the first 40 were sort of just feeling things out
9:47 am – By rep 60, I started feeling like my brain new what I what I was trying to do, things started clicking
9:54 am – By rep 80, I felt like I could really start to add speed to what I was doing
10:00 am – Rep 100 – Feeling very confident as my swing is looking and feeling like what I want it to
10:06 am – Rep 120 – Takeaway move really feeling good here, starting to focus on left side as well on downswing now.
10:13 am – Rep 140 – Noticing fatigue, arms and shoulders have never felt this soft and relaxed, really feeling left side pulling motion, starting to sweat, it’s a workout now, taking a 5 minute break to stretch and relax my brain.
10:21 am – Rep 160 – Do I even have arms and shoulders now? Club coming through effortlessly, completely core driven and club is ripping through w/ serious speed and zero effort as I’ve started to add a little more speed to my drills.
10:26 am – Rep 180 – Mixing fast and slow now, started getting a little sloppy and losing the feeling of using my core properly.
10:31 am – Rep 200 – Really feeling core now, shoulders super relaxed.
10:36 am – Rep 220 – Back to going super slow again, focusing on takeaway and left side on downswing. My setp feels very comfortable now.
10:41 am – Rep 240 – Tired, sweaty, taking a break. Wondering to myself how many people are actually going to do this? Hayes maybe…. 😉
10:47 am – Rep 260 – Starting to totally feel different muscles powering my downswing and complete separation from my shoulders and core.
10:53 am – Rep 280 – My golf swing feels like it’s from another planet. Completely controlled by the right and left side of my core, I don’t have arms, checking in the mirror to ensure they are still there.
11:00 am – Rep 300 – Don’t have arms but they sure are moving fast. Whew, I’m done!

It took an hour and a half to complete 300 swings like this, about the same time it takes to hit a large bucket of balls on the range, but this was way more productive in the long run. It’s certainly not a short term, quick fix, but in the end my joints are going to thank me – in fact, they already are!

I once watched Tiger Woods practicing at Isleworth here in Windermere where he lives and I saw him do the same takeaway drill for 45 minutes, non-stop, without ever hitting a ball. If you think about that, it’s amazing. He was intensely focused on a drill while a hole pile of brand new Nike One Platinum’s lay at his feet just begging to be hit. I never thought I could do just a drill for an hour and a half, but I just did and I learned a ton about the muscles that I want to actually fire in my downswing. I’m 10% of the way there!

To check my progress, I went downstairs immediately afterward and hit a few balls on film to see if anything stuck, here’s the sequence:

 

I’m very happy with a few things that I can already see as a result of my work this morning. One, I’m much happier with the coil and position of my left knee going back. I have a tedency to let it go back a bit far and get loose and sloppy. I’m extremely happy with my downswing progress, not perfect, but definite progress. My left leg is completely posted up on, not by using leg, using my core in the downswing! Because of this impact position, I’m getting a great release where the club is ripping through due to centrifugal force and nothing else.

Filming my swing helped me see what I need to focus on again tomorrow when I do another “300 Workout”, but I’m very pleased that swing has progressed already and can’t wait to see what happens when I hit 3,000 reps!