The Golf Lesson
September 26, 2014
Some of us are way more visual learners than we ever thought possible.
I came to that conclusion shortly after watching a videotape of my golf swing, during my first lesson with Kyle Deas, the pro at Rookery North.
The session came about after the intervention/round of golf I played with Deas and Pete Oakley, described in a recent column. I didn’t have a good response to their badgering about not taking a golf lesson in several years. Nonetheless, the fact that both Deas and Oakley acted like I wasn’t completely hopeless helped convince me to sign up.
Deas met me at the Rookery North practice range, after I’d warmed up. He had me take my 8-iron, aim at the 100-yard marker, and try to hit a few shots over the marker as he shot the video from behind me, and then again from the side.
Then I saw the video clips–hoo boy. Umpteen playing partners have told me I over-swing, but I had no idea what that actually meant, or what it looked like. Think of my 8-iron as a third leg, running straight down to the ground left of my left foot, and you have some idea.
While still stunned by that visual, I listened as Deas explained the cause of my erratic results. He first explained that I was actually aimed right of the yardage marker, because I always hit draws and was subconsciously adjusting my aim for the expected flight path.
Deas said he saw slicers do the same thing, but aiming to the left of the marker instead.
As for the over-swing, Deas said I was making four separate weight shifts during my swing, with perfect timing needed to make it work. Any slight miscue lead to the kinds of bad results Oakley and Deas saw during our round.
Deas then showed me a couple tips to stop the over-swinging. He stood behind me with a long alignment rod, and said he’d tap my club when I went past parallel on my backswing.
After about seven straight whacks in a row, I slowly began to figure it how to stop the backswing far earlier than I normally did.
Deas then showed another part of the video clip, pointing out that my follow-through on the downswing wasn’t complete. To truly finish my swing, I was flipping my wrists to straighten the clubface. That also requires great timing to be successful, something I do not possess on a consistent basis.
Fixing that issue was a bit easier. Deas had me do quarter-swings while making my chest and belt buckle face the target, if not a bit left of that, at the finish.
When I did what Deas told me to do, it worked great. The full turns to the left eliminated any “need” to flip my wrists, and consistently straightened the ball flights.
There is such a thing as learning too much at one time, however, so the lesson ended shortly thereafter. The next steps were to spend more time on the range than out on the course, trying to create a new set of swing habits.
I have enjoyed that process more than I thought I would, not least of which because I am seeing some good results. Five straight gap wedges to within 4 yards of each other at the 100-yard marker is not something I could do before the lesson, for example.
The results are still erratic out on the course, but there are signs of progress. This fall’s practice sessions and rounds should be even better.
Seeing the video clips was remarkably powerful, convincing evidence of what I needed to do to improve my game.
I’m glad Deas and Oakley gave me the push.
Local Club Competition Results
The Rehoboth Beach Country Club 18 Hole Ladies held their Closing Day event Sept. 17. Joan Crowley, Pauline Porter, Linda Tigani, and Judy Holtzclaw combined for a winning net team score of 60. Karen Storms, Sheila Halfpenny, Barbara Bullock, and Ann Cunningham finished in second place net, only two strokes back.
Jeannie Allen, Carol Burn, Doris Rogers, and Kathy Carroll took third net with their 63, just ahead of Barbara Collins, Connie Kotula, Bee Ekdahl, and Eileen Clark.
In the gross score category, Daisey Hudson, Gayle Truitt, Lyn Webster, and Barb Morgan finished first with their 74, with the team of Suzanne Moore, Arlene Simms, and Beth Forbes finishing in second.
The Kings Creek Country Club Ladies 18 Hole Golf League played their edition of Tee to Green Sept. 18. Linda Outlaw finished first in the first flight, with Judy Wetzel in second and Marilyn Hewitt in third. Hewitt also won Closest to the Pin on the eleventh hole, at 8’ 1”.
Sherry Pie’ took the first spot in the second flight, with Denise Stewart finishing second and Faye Slatcher taking third. Nancy Froome won the third flight, while Leslie Ledogar came in second and Gail Petren took third.
The Sussex Pines Ladies Golf Association played an Irons Only event Sept. 23. Linda Townsend won first place, with Jo Ann Foster in second and Dee Prillaman in third.