Project 2 Handicap

Online log of a quest to drop my golf handicap from a nine to a two within sixty months. Sink or swim, I'll give it my best shot. Advice is not only appreciated, it's encouraged!

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Losing "it", and getting "it" back

Another trip to the range tonight to prove to myself that my swing, so trustworty two weeks ago, has indeed return.

It hadn't.

For the first bucket I was beside myself, trying every change I could think of to get my swing back. My shots were weak or fat - just ridiculously shitty.

Finally, halfway into the second bucket I came across the problem. My sway was back.

So I concentrated on the weight shift on the backswing - especially keeping my weight on the inside of the heel of my right foot.

Voila. Suddenly I was able to push off the back foot again and really go after the ball. My shots turned crisp and long.

I'm back!

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Swing Maintenance

A short vacation followed by a business trip means two lost golf weekends. So upon my return I was naturally worried about having lost the swing magic I had for the two prior rounds.

Sure enough, a quick visit to the range on Monday revealed that my swing had lost some crispness, and to make matters worse all of my shots were moving left to right - not my normal shot shape. But the wind was blowing that way, so I wasn't in a panic.

Another visit last night - this time with the wind blowing the other way - revealed that it was indeed my swing. But after about a half bucket I figured it out, and corrected the out-to-in swing path by focusing on firing the butt end of the club into my right hip pocket. By bringing the club in the dowswing closer to my body I was able to change the swing path to in-to-out.

And I read tonight that this swing change is consistent with Jim Hardy's one-plane swing fundamentals.

Guess I'll just have to memorize that book.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

One Plane Success

Another solid round on Wednesday, again focusing on maintaining a 35 to 45 degree spine angle at setup.

A 76 this time, with 12 pars, 5 bogeys and a birdie.

Again, I was able to get substantial extra distance with my drives. Really, with all clubs.

I'm finding that I can swing with more force than before. I'm also still able to keep the right side of the hole out of play.

One downside appears to be that I've lost some accuracy with my short irons - especially with the wedge. I suspect it may that I have to adjust the clubface angle to the new, more upright swing path. Might also be that my alignment has to change.

All in all though, I'm thrilled with the newfound length and sold ball striking!

Sunday, July 09, 2006


I found something!

When I saw my swing the other day and compared it with Hardy's "one plane" fundamentals, I noticed that my shoulders were turning on a flatter plane than Hardy recommends. Hardy suggests that the one plane golfer bend at the waist at a 35 to 45 degree angle. I was bending maybe 20 degrees at the most.

Today I concentrated on bending over more than usual at address. I found that this helped me in two ways:
  1. It took the right side of the hole completely out of play. (It felt almost like playing a shot with the ball above my feet. Very easy to keep that shot from going right!)
  2. I was able to swing harder - much harder - and still control my ball. My drives were longer. My irons flew higher and longer.
As a result, I played my most solid round of the year, shooting a 77 with 14 pars, 3 bogies and one double.

Monday, July 03, 2006

The Plane Truth

There are numerous "also ran" instructional manuals among my collection of books on golf, the contents of which are either long forgotten or dismissed.

Then there are those that introduced solid instruction that I - with varying degrees of success - attempted to synthesize into my golf game.

But then there are those wondrous books that were exciting to read as they contained shiny new concepts, some of which helped me reach new plateaus - books like; Fred Shoemaker's Extraordinary Golf, or Manuel De LA Torre's Understanding the Golf Swing, or John Jacob's Practical Golf come to mind.

Over the weekend I picked up another book which might fit this latter category - Jim Hardy's The Plane Truth for Golfers.

Hardy introduces a radical new concept (radical to me at least). He postulates that there are not one but two sets of swing fundamentals, because there are two different golf swings.

I've heard of a two swing theory before - in the context of a suggestion that there is a different swing for the driver and the irons.

But that's not what Hardy is talking about.

Hardy differentiates between a "one plane" and a "two plane" swing. The "one plane" swing is characterized by golfers who swing the club along the same plane (or very close to the same plane) as their shoulders, while in the "two plane" swing golfers swing their arms up at a more vertical angle than their shoulders are turning.

What makes Hardy's theory interesting is his suggestion that there are different sets of fundamentals for the two swings. While he favors the "one plane" swing, he says that - with practice - either swing is capable of achieving the desired result - consistent ball striking.

Hardy's recommendation is to pick one swing and groove those fundamentals.

After reading the first few chapters I had to find out which swing mine resembled, so I set up the camera in the back yard and took some practice swings. I concluded that my current swing is closer to the "one plane" swing, though my shoulders turn on perhaps a bit more horizontal plane than they should. My setup fundamentals - strong grip, square to closed stance, level shoulders - are also in line with the "one plane" swing.

Since I don't have to change much at all I think I'll give Hardy's "one plane" swing fundamentals a shot. It'll be interesting to see if any of his suggestions for grooving the "one plane" swing lead to improvement.