The local pro at the range I frequent I understand is one of the best in the area; but his rates are a bit rich for my blood. So I decided, as I often do, to noodle around a bit with the mechanics of my swing and see if I could solve a couple conundrums. The shank was reemerging periodically like bad night’s sleep, and my driving distance was as anemic as a clam. I knew I wasn’t too far off though with either of these problems since I hit about half the balls out of a small bucket pretty OK. Solid contact. Good trajectory. Decent distance. And straight. So like a kind of golf forensic pathologist, I commenced to diagnosing what was going on with the other half of that bucket (yeah, we’re probably watching too many detective shows on BritBox).
First, I set up my iPhone and filmed the swing, but saw nothing out of whack. Then I slowed the swing down and examined my positions at each stage. Ah, something was definitely amiss. I was bringing the club back too much to the inside, discovering first hand the meaning of getting stuck at the top of my backswing. And that’s where Matt Wolff comes in.
If you caught a glimpse of this guy at your range, you’d probably point and snicker. But if you watched a few shots, your jaw would drop. He’s deadly accurate, long, with Iron Byron consistency. Part of why this is so has to do with his not getting stuck at the top of his swing which he accomplishes by keeping his hands and the clubhead in front of his body on the backswing. He goes outside the swing plane going back, and then returns it on plane coming down, tucking his flying right elbow back into his right side. Next, I observe him leading the downswing with his right shoulder which I believe is how he accelerates and builds power, triggering his powerful core. With the right shoulder dropping down initially, the hands and arms return on plane ready to deliver the coup de grace at impact.
Now, do I recommend everyone should copy Matthew’s swing. No. The kid is 21, possessed of great flexibility and core strength, and has his swing grooved after years of lessons, practice, and competition. But you could borrow elements like those I mentioned.
It’s still a work in progress for me–with golf, it’s always a work in progress. But the last time I played–just this past week–I did not shank the ball. My consistency and distance improved. And my accuracy was more predictable. And I made four pars out of the nine holes played (at this point in my medical recovery, I count pars instead of total score and keep it to a walking nine). My latest project is to repair a pesky pull to the left with my short irons which is driving me a little crazy, but like SNL’s Middle-Aged Man skit (Mike Myers) of years ago, “I’m workin’ on it, I’m workin’ on it!”
This week, enjoy the WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational at TPC Southwind in Memphis. Many big names will be playing, but not Tiger. His goal is to be ready for a major the following week: the PGA Championship to be held in San Francisco.
Well done, Michael Thompson, a 35 year-old journeyman who showed much grace and grit down the stretch in winning the 3M Open. That approach shot on 18, over water, and subsequent birdie, was a thing of beauty and sealed the deal for his two-shot victory. He joined the Tour in 2008, and this was his second victory. His last win was in 2013. This qualifies him for the three majors to be played this year.
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