Notes to Self From My First Golf Lesson in 25 Years

Tonight I got my first golf lesson in about 25 years, from Andy Golden, Assistant PGA Professional at North Hills Country Club.

What I learned was surprising to me, and I am hoping will be able to be engrained in my mind and habits quickly.

To start: I will need to change basically everything I have tried to learn about my golf swing. My swing over the years has been steep, and has led to the huge fade/slice that I have tried to control since I was a kid playing leagues at Wanaki Golf Course.

My hope is to get away from aiming over ponds and tree lines to get the ball in the fairway off the tee. To do this I will need to do the following:

  • Move the ball back in my stance from in front of my front foot to the inside of my front foot
  • Keep an upright, athletic stance, but close it to be in line with my target by turning and dropping my right shoulder slightly; my right shoulder should be over my right foot, slightly lowered
  • My takeaway cannot go far enough inside – I need to do a better job of keeping the club nearer to the ground while imaginarily “shaking hands” with my left hand on the takeaway
  • While my sternum is over my right foot, think about swinging with only my forearms on the turn toward the ball – resist turning with my hips to create a longer, shallower swing path and therefore a better club face angle at impact

If the ball snap hooks left, I know it is because I am lifting the back-swing again, like with my old swing. The idea is to have the club face running the length of the tee box toward the ball.

Some of the drills that will help me get the right swing motion include:

  • Use just my left hand to swing in to a full swing that ends over my left shoulder
  • Practice getting to my “loaded” point, then swinging with just my forearms “toward right field” in a right-to-left motion to work in the draw motion

With a couple of callouses starting to my form on my right hand, I am hoping that the new swing is actually starting to become my new norm, but know it will take some serious work to get to the point where my high fade/slice turns in to the powerful draw that I am hoping to achieve.

The other bi-product that I am aiming for is a narrower “miss.” Rather than a 50- to 75-yard left-to-right miss, I am hoping to bring in my misses to a much lower variance.

The good news is that my overall game is not horrible. My twosome with my new friend, Bob, and I actually won the club’s season-opening tournament this past weekend, which should hopefully get me well on my way to the club’s season-ending Ryder Cup tournament. Now it’s a matter of improving my game enough that I can finally get my handicap down to the single digits this season!

This weekend should certainly be a test, with a Friday round at Castle at the Bay and Saturday at Wild Rock… Not exactly friendly courses to poor driving.

4 comments on “Notes to Self From My First Golf Lesson in 25 Years

  1. I haven't played golf for quite some time and I hope that I still know the right way to swing and all. But, the next time that I’ll try golf again, I'll definitely keep in mind all your 25 lessons and put them to use. I hope that they help me improve too. Wish me luck!

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  2. Nothing worse than anticipating a round at a great course and having the weather interfere. I guess it makes us appreciate the great Wisconsin days that much more. Looks like Lawsonia and Castle Course are in my future in the next few weeks as well as 36 holes at Hunter's Glen in Crivitz next Friday the 17th. Been shooting low 80s at my home course generally. Now if I could just putt a little better.

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  3. We actually DID end up playing on Friday at Northern Bay. The front nine was one of the only rounds of golf I have ever played that I genuinely did not enjoy at all, though. It was 38 degrees and rainy, was cold and windy… Brutal. The rain slowed down for the back, though, which made that better. It's a shame, too, because I otherwise always enjoy the Castle Course so much!

    Saturday was then perfect at Wild Rock. Wisconsin weather – what can you do?

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  4. Sounds very similar to my swing journey. I don't fade/slice the ball with my irons but my driver was so erratic last year that I hit hybrid off the tee 80% of par 4s just so I would have a better chance of being in play. Best tip I learned was keeping left arm/bicep in tight to chest and make sure that shoulders are parallel to aiming point of feet. Being square helps me a ton. Good luck. Guessing today might be a wash out at Northern Bay.

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