For one, I swing with mechanical-correctness even when my form is off, so I don’t worry about injuries when working on my swing or playing golf.
The second reason is my philosophy – no matter how hard one swings, if one is swinging properly, big misses are eliminated or greatly reduced in likelihood, so I want to see where my misses go, and by how much.
There is absolutely no point in trying to “steer” or manipulate one’s swing when working on technique – the whole point is to not have to do this when out on the course or the long drive tee.
If you are manipulating your swing, you are not in the proper setup and/or aren’t performing the proper pivot to just swing and let the ball get in the way.
So, seeing this:
… missing by 60 yards off-center left and 30 yards off-center left doesn’t bother me when I’m working on technique, because if it’s bang-on, I won’t miss by that margin even on a mis-hit.
What I do is think about the misses – for example, I’ve been pulling the ball in the Tracer Golf facility, and knew there was something off in my setup or swing action.
I fall into traps that everyone else does, because some of you will remember my posting this about Jason Day way back in 2017 during a round in which he was missing everything left:
One glance at his setup and I said, “Well of course he’s missing left – he’s set up square to the target line with his lower body but his shoulders are wide open…”
If it were only so easy for me personally, because one tends to be blinded by one’s own flaws when it’s relatively easy to spot another’s, like Mr. Day above.
So, during the last session, I was still missing many shots left and thought for sure that my setup was proper.
It was when I got fed up of missing left even with such good swing speed numbers that I said, “OK, the ball’s going left? How about this?” as I proceeded to aim a good deal right on my next ball.
Wham… and the ball went straight, down the pipe. Not right, straight down the middle.
I hit another ball aiming way right… again, straight down the pipe.
Mystified, I looked down at my feet on the next ball, and was shocked to see that I was standing square to my target line.
It was then that it struck me – the problem I’d had for years and years swinging left-dominant had cropped up again – setting up feet square but with my shoulders wide open.
Unfortunately, my session was over and I had to take things home to chew over.
I’ll add that I do have scoliosis which twists my spine to the left so that when I stand normally, my shoulders are angled to my left (right shoulder slightly in front of the square line, left shoulder slightly behind), and that this feels normal to me.
So, my suspicion that I was setting up aligned slightly left on the launch monitor pad was both correct and incorrect – my shoulders were open, correct, due to the spinal twist, but the rest of me was square, and it wasn’t because I was trying to see the screen in my peripheral but because it felt naturally square for me to be set up that way.
It is only when I set up feeling like I’m aiming way to the right that my shoulders square up, and it is likely that the extended time off from hitting balls in the pandemic season lost me the feeling of being set up square to the target with my shoulders.
I had ingrained the feeling of squared shoulders over time hitting lots of balls, but when I had the extended time of 3 years with very little ball striking, the feeling disappeared.
In fact, considering most of my big misses were left, I would wager that if I get the video clips out from the past summer and even the one before, where I was struggling to nail down the model to my liking, I’ll see if I look closely, some degree of open shoulders with squared feet when shooting down the line.
Oh, Look…Last Season…
No word of a lie, I actually wrote the preceding paragraph before going into the clips archive for a peek.
Those two setup pics are a before and after from September 22, 2022. So, I was correct because I knew exactly what the issue had been at the launch facility.
This is the source of my twisting sensations at times on very hard swings and how I struggle to nail the optimal impact position – one little thing wrong will butterfly-effect all the way to impact from the setup.
And going over things at home with the swing aid, I can see how there was actually nothing wrong with my theoretical swing model whatsoever, just my not getting the setup properly when practicing and then when hitting balls.
It’s a recurring theme for me – nothing wrong with the model, just the guy taking it for a spin.
So, this is why I never manipulate or try to steer my swing when I’m swinging – let the chips fall where they may, and then if something is off, figure out why that is, instead of fiddling around with stance, swing path, grip etc.
That is because, all of my life, I’ve played various sports and practiced incessantly on technique so that when it came down to performing, I could do so without thinking about it.
If you have to think about it, you’re dead in the water. I’d rather miss and miss badly during practice, figure out the problem and then fix it.
In the long run, it’s the quickest way to make permanent changes and it’s the shortest line between two points, in my experience.
So, I’m very enthused about my next session, where I’ll remember to check my shoulders and to bring my gloves, and we’ll see how this model work is really going.
More to come.