Saturday, February 14, 2009

Ted Fort Attacks the Hack N Wilt

I have the DVD of my lesson with Ted Fort, but I don't have any spare DVD's on me to burn the lesson onto so I can upload it to YouTube to give an idea of what the lesson was like. Anyway, I had a rough, rough Friday of golf. Scheduled the lesson for Saturday and had a morning tee time first. Went to the range and was hitting it scary bad. We play a shotgun on Saturday mornings in the winter because of frost delays and I wound up getting stuck on a 215 yard par 3 that's slightly uphill as my first hole. I hook one into the woods and actually find it and hit a great shot up to the green. Strangely, after that I hit the ball quite well except for the usual 2-3 stray shots and hit 12 greens and shot 75. What felt good was that I was going into the lesson now playing well, but knowing I wouldn't maintain it unless I started to find a remedy to some of the problems.

I had to wait for Ted to finish up with his lesson that he had before me. While I was waiting, I decided to warm up and take some practice swings while doing some stretching. Ted's student was amazed at how well Ted had him pegged as far as what type of player he was and what shot he struggles with. And by watching some of my practice swings, Ted then had me pegged as far as what type of player I was (less than a 5 handicap) and what type of shots I struggle with (pull hook, big fade and the high ball shot). In fact, Ted mentioned that by just watching my swings he said that he would love to play against me in windy conditions (always a nemesis for me).

If there was one thing I really didn't like about my swing, it was how far my head moved backward on the downswing. But strangely enough, I couldn't figure out why because I had no signs of a reverse pivot. I did know that the head would only move backwards if the spine tilted back that way and this was opening the clubface a bit which countered what I thought was a slightly closed clubface at the top. Either way, I felt this added loft to the club which explained why I hit the ball so high.

So I was sort of on the right track, but I had no idea how to correct it. Ted explained it that he believed my problems were mostly with the clubhead. Or as he put it 'I want you to work on 3 things...clubface, clubface and clubface.'

To wit, because the clubface was so shut from the very beginning of the golf swing, my body did everything it could to open the clubface back up to square. Spine tilt (or moving the head backwards) opens up the clubface. Go grab a club and take your normal stance. Now, without swinging the club and just having the club in your hands, just tilt your spine backwards about 30 degrees. When you do this, the clubface naturally opens (and adds loft). So my swing became a thing where I had a closed face and then had to open it and hold onto that for dear life. If I didn't hold onto the clubface, then the hook would happen. If I over-did it, then the big fade would come into play. The closed clubface also helped me come over the top from time to time.

Take a look at my most recent photo at the top of the swing.

Now take a look at one of the all time great ballstrikers at the top of their swing, the late George Knudson:

As you can see, my clubface is pointing directly at the sky. Mr. Knudson's clubface is pointing more towards the camera.

Ted is not an advocate of toe up to toe up theory, but what I was taught was something similar to that with a focus on pivot.

You see, I still firmly believe the pivot is the lifeblood of the golf swing. The problem with my swing is that while my pivot had improved over the past month or two in my 'comeback' to the game, the tilting spine/backward moving head was effecting the pivot from reaching its full potential, IMO. Same thing with the downward neck tilt.

From there, Ted had me work on the proper release because since my clubface was so closed on the backswing, I was 'steering' the clubface to open on the downswing. So I needed to get the clubface square on the backswing (which felt for me like I was opening it up) and then release the club on the dowswing (toe at the target post impact) instead of steering it.

We also made a slight change in my grip as well.

The end result was after a few shots I started hitting the ball much better. Much better trajectory and a lot less curvature. Furthermore, I could take divots and still power the ball swinging just taking a 3/4 swing and only swinging at about less than 50% and do it with ease. I was barely swinging the club and hitting some powerful shots.

Outside of getting the rhythm and tempo down, it's so simple it's stupid.

I'll give an update later next week.


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