Writing this column is accomplishing two things for me thus far: helping me keep track with my progression, and further highlighting how fast the summer can go by.
At my most recent lesson, now a couple weeks ago already, the main thing we focused on was posture.
I’ll be the first to admit, my posture in general is far from ideal, never mind on the golf course. However, Simon Jones at Purcell has been able to highlight the importance of good posture to the golf swing, while not overwhelming my brain and body with too much information all at once.
For instance, he didn’t break down each of the 14 (I think) losses of posture that can occur in the golf swing. Instead he simply helped me realize that I could stand up a lot straighter at address.
Akin to the aversion many people, myself included, feel at hearing the sound of their own recorded voice, bearing witness to my own recorded golf swing is not my favourite thing in the world. But, with this focus on posture in mind, I was really able to tell how low down I got, how poor my posture really was, when I stepped up to my ball.
So posture was the main thing coming out of that last lesson, but there were a couple other really quick things Simon showed me I really connected with.
The first was something he had seen the South African golfer Louis Oosthuizen do in a recent video, where before taking the club up on the backswing, he would cock his wrists back, with the logo of the glove on the forward hand rotated down towards the ground.
I’m realizing that this is much more complicated to describe in words than first hand, but essentially what it does is get the club into a good impact position, then taking it up and finishing the swing. After taking about a metric ton’s worth of turf out of the practice area with my eight iron, I suddenly hit one as good as I’ve ever hit that club. And I was able to repeat it. It felt like I’d just learned a magic trick.
Another tip that lesson, this time working on my driver which I’ve really been struggling to get sending balls straight, was also partially do do with posture. Like many amateur golfers, I sometimes struggle with getting my whole body involved in the shot. I know I’m supposed to load up from the bottom, and then unwind, and know that timing and rhythm are important to getting consistency and distance.
Knowing it and executing it are not one in the same however. Focusing on better posture, Jones said, will help me get my hips into the swing, and a tip he gave me, at the top of the backswing, was “Try to get your left hip as far away from your left shoulder as quickly as you can.” I did this and immediately felt that sensation of uncoiling and could tell that if I put some good time into that it would help me hit farther and straighter. Again, magic.
I felt like I left that lesson with some really effective new tools to help my game, it was then just a matter of finding the time to put it all into practice on the course. As mentioned before in the last column, summer for my wife and I, can some times get a bit busy and it often feels like we are either away, or hosting on the weekends and all of a sudden it’s autumn again.
However, one weekend recently I had a very old friend of mine come visit while my better half was out of town, and we played 45 holes of golf: nine at Purcell on Friday, the Championship 18 at Bootleg on Saturday and two Rec Nines on Sunday.
I definitely was underwhelmed with my play, shooting just over 50 in the three nine-hole rounds and unfortunately getting my worst score on a full 18 so far of the year out of the four I’ve played.
Despite not having my best stuff, the time on the course was an absolute pleasure the entire time. My friend and I, who’ve known each other for almost 25 years, have never golfed together before, and not that we were being super competitive, but after all 45 holes our total scores were only separated by four strokes.
We also got paired up with a couple guys from Sparwood (shoutout Tyler and Craig) who were an absolute blast to play with. Always goes to show that even if you’re not playing your best, it can still be a good time.
I like the expression, ‘I’m not good enough to be angry.’ Rather than getting frustrated by playing my worst golf so far this year, after all the work I’ve put in, I had as much fun on the course as I’ve ever had. If I can stick with that mentality, in addition to practising and focusing on these lessons I’m getting from Simon, I’m confident the scores will start to drop.