Group Lessons and Keeping My Head Down

After suffering through yet another round of short tee shots and missed greens, I decided it was time to get some lessons. Local mega-facility Fox Hills (45 holes, plus a par 3 course, and a learning center) offers “drop in” group lessons on Thursdays, so I signed up.

I like group lessons. Because the instructor is moving from player to player, I have the time try to absorb any advice and work on my swing before he (or she) makes the circuit. I have found that private lessons, on the other hand, often result in information overload. The instructor—surely trying to make sure I get my money’s worth—hovers about, talking incessantly and pointing out flaw after flaw.

Thursday’s instructor was a very nice and knowledgeable lady named Joal Harding. She’s a former All-SEC and All American who worked as an LPGA touring pro from 1992 to 1994. Injuries forced her off the Tour and she now teaches full time.

It didn’t take her long to figure out what what was wrong. I’m rising up on the backswing, resulting in a top position that goes way past parallel. To try to get it back on plane, I then cast the club, sapping all the power. And of course, there are some other issues that arise from that single very, very bad move.

The good news is that my setup is flawless, and my finish good.

Harding’s solution was a classic golf dictum: Keep the head down. If I do that, it’ll automatically shorten the backswing, keeping it more on plane throughout. She also set me with some drills to help keep my wrists set at the proper angle throughout. The primary tip was to practice with the split hands drill. That’s where you keep the left hand on the grip, and the right set a bit up the shaft. This helps keep the hands set correctly and encourages proper release.

The advice was very concise, very practical and exactly what I needed. I look forward to going back next week.

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3 thoughts on “Group Lessons and Keeping My Head Down”

  1. I hope the change in your swing quickly takes hold.  My experience with a swing change brings back memories of “the learning curve.”  The PGA pro placed a great deal of emphasis on the idea that one becomes worse before any improvement.  My personal experience confirmed this idea.

    While there were times I hit the ball very solidly, it was almost a full season before the changes became natural and I saw consistently better results.  In the long run the changes were worth the temporary set backs.  However, there were many times I wanted to just go back to my old swing


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