In a word, because I hate disasters.
I quit the game over frustration with modern golf instruction and it is likely that nearly all of my issues came from not being told when I began to pay for golf lessons that my issue was swinging left-dominant.
It’s one thing to tell someone that they’re swinging over the top – one instructor who wasn’t my instructor walked by one day while I was slamming 5 irons at a 220 yard target (yes, even with this problem I could kill the ball as a beginner) and remarked off-hand that I was OTT, which was why my misses were wild slices or dead pull-hooks.
I actually learned how to hit a draw that week by wildly exaggerating the aim-right and turn the hands over at impact – the problem was that I was hitting over the top push-draws, and still, no one told me what I was doing wrong or how to fix it.
So, I could play passable golf, even pretty good golf by going the Hogan route – live on the range, hit millions of balls and then take it out on the course.
Unlike Hogan however, my swing model was an utter travesty so if I got out of sync or tried to swing even a little harder than usual, I would come dead over the top and bury the club head in the turf or, with a tee shot, hit a slice or a screaming pull-hook that would have had you looking at me like, “where did that come from?”
I remember walking off the course when, teeing off on a par-5 hole and 2 under par through 9 holes, I proceeded to try to kill the ball and promptly hit two balls dead left OB on my way to making a 10.
I was out of there after double-bogeying the next hole, as my swing had completely unraveled and I couldn’t get it back.
Here is my swing in 2008 when I was into my swing research, and you might think, “OK, I don’t see a problem here, and you’re driving it up to 350 yards?”
The reason I was able to do this was because of my impact position:
You catch a ball cleanly with that position, you’re going to send it. Here I am after a drive to the 350 yard hole on my home course back in 2009 (missed the green right with that power-fade, but pin-high), and on a pretty cool and moist autumn day, as you can see I was playing while wearing a thick pullover:
The problem was when I didn’t catch it 100% or when I tried to give it more right hand, which would make me turn even harder to get my right hand to the ball – then, depending on the face angle, a screaming pull-hook or a two-fairways-over slice.
Unluckily for me, I have pretty good hand-eye coordination, so I could get away with it with enough work on the range.
If you want the horror show, here’s the down the line – viewer discretion advised:
I mean, if you watch it, can you not feel the left-arm dominance in this action?
If you can stomach looking at this swing, you will see how it was a purely left-armed swing and how I used my athletic experience and developed hand-eye coordination to actually make contact and smash that ball on a good swing.
When I reached the top, my left arm swung the club back down through, and you’ll notice that neither my hands nor the the club head ever leave the swing plane line from when they touch it, all the way through the ball:
That down the line swing was actually a toe-hit, but the ball still flew over 300 yards.
Notice as well that the swing plane is also matched by my left arm – so that, my friends, is an over the top swing that could produce prodigious drives only because I was able to use my athleticism and hand-eye coordination.
Even recently, with my swing plane down to neutral and a slight in-to-out path after all of my work, I still controlled the club with my left hand, now that I know what I’m looking for:
So, there is the tale of my left-dominant swing problems that are likely the reason for this blog’s existence.
Had I been a right-dominant swinger, I would have mastered the Classic Golf Swing action within a couple of years of beginning my golf life in the mid-90’s and likely would have been out playing golf happily and well.
I can say that with confidence because I lived for sports in my youth and anything I took my hand to (baseball, track & field, basketball, hockey, etc) I mastered quickly and became very proficient at.
Instead, I walked away from golf for years, burning with frustration, until I came back to it in ’05 vowing to get it right, come hell or high water.
And that leaves us all here today, with me preparing to get out there in the next few days to see if I’ve solved that issue (pretty sure) and how long and straight I’ll be able to smash that pellet at age 52.