The Swing Lab: Fixing My Swing Mechanics With Tips From Top Instructors

THE SWING LAB

What is the Swing Lab?

This is the place where I will be experimenting with my golf swing mechanics and testing out simple swing adjustments. Using tips from top golf instructors I will try the to make slight adjustments to the different parts of my swing such as grip, path, tempo, takeaway and more. The swing lab will be an archive of those adjustments and a review of how they worked for my specific swing mechanics.

SWING PROFILEFEBRUARY 2017
StanceClosed - Left Foot 45˚
GripWeak
Trigger Waggle/Left Heel
TakeawayEarly Wrist Cock
Backswing Flat and Inside
PlaneOne - Left Arm Below Shoulder
PathSlight Inside/Out
ReleaseCrossover
ClubfaceClosed 1.2˚ - 1.5˚
Swing SpeedTBD
Swing Thoughts"Reach In Rt. Pocket"
"Club Thru Shoulder"
Swing ModelSoren Kjeldsen
Bobby Jones
Ben Hogan

My Swing Mechanics

February 2017

March 2017


Swing Mechanics Tips #1-10

Swing Mechanics Note
Each tip will get a rating & a review after I have tested it. I will try to incorporate the tips that earn at least 4 STARS into my swing

 

Tip #1A – Grip

Paul Kopp – Sequence Series

Grip
"Place the club in the 3rd pad of the right hand closest to the palm"
REVIEW
  • 20 Ball Test (7 Iron)
  • Overall Rating
3.3

Summary

RESULTS: Open Clubface

The change in grip to the 3rd pads of the fingers instead of the palm or finger tips caused an Open clubface with my swing mechanics. After 20 shots, I found I missed more to the right and had a noticeable fade. This grip seems to help if you want more an open face. Since my swing path was slightly outside-in, I feel that with this grip and a corrected inside-out path I will have the draw that I am looking for.

Update 2/20

After a few weeks of using Paul Kopp’s grip, I have noticed a more closed clubface especially with my 9 iron. With this information and an inside to out swing path, I have been missing most shots left of the green. My goal is to hit a slight draw and with an inside out path and slight open to square face. This should help me avoid the big miss and improve my swing mechanics.

Therefore, I am going to try Ben Hogan’s adjustment to an weaker grip and see what it accomplishes in terms of my swing mechanics. It may not help but I am going to give it a go.

Tip #1B – Grip (Weak)

David Ledbetter – The Fundamentals of Hogan

Grip
"The club should lie across the left hand so that it runs diagonally from the heel pad to first joint of index finger and place the club in the fingers of the right hand across the top joints"

  • 20 Ball Test (7 Iron)
  • Overall Rating
3.3

Summary

Results: Still Closed Clubface
I have weakened my grip to see if It would help in getting my clubface more Open but after hitting a 20 ball test, I really didn’t see much of a change. I still have a closed clubface but it is improving slightly. In fact in the last session of my break 80 challenge my clubface averaged Closed 1.0 degrees which is better than the previous 2.3 degrees. I do like the feel of the weaker grip and think it does let me get my hands through but may have to try something else to open my face more. I will stick with it for the time being.

 

Tip #2 – Grip (Pressure)

Jim Moorehouse – How To Break 80

Grip
"Grip pressure should be light like squeezing a toothpaste tube so that no toothpaste comes out"

Review
  • 20 Ball Test (7 Iron)
  • Overall Rating
4

Summary

Result: Square clubface and better use of hands.

This golf tip called for me to lighten my grip pressure which when paired with gripping lower in the fingers really helped my clubface. I felt I could get my hands through impact better which allowed me to close the clubface slightly. My clubface went from Open 3.0 to Open .06 on average when I concentrated on a light grip. I was still all all over the place with some of my shots which bothers me. Also Swing path is still an issue but with this new grip I feel I am on the track to become more consistent.

Tip #3 – Posture

Jim McLean – Eight Step Swing

Posture
"The butt of the club should point between your navel and your slacks"

  • 20 Ball Test (7 Iron)
  • Overall Rating
4.8

Summary

Result: Square Clubface, Straight Path and More Distance

I decided to combine tips #3 and #4 because they both dealt with posture prior to hitting. My focus was on getting the club butt pointing correctly and then lowering my right shoulder. At first, I felt as if I was in an uncomfortable position but soon got use to it. The shoulder tilt REALLY made a difference in my swing. It seemed to allow me to get the club more inside and thus I ended up with a swing path on average that was “straight”. This is a good sign. In addition, I hit the ball much better, hitting inside 15 feet SEVEN times out of the twenty shots (much better than I did previously). Lastly, I saw that I hit the ball farther with improved swing speed. I still hit some wild shot to both sides of the green but my good shots turned into great shots. I was very pleased with these posture tips.

 

Tip #4 – Posture

Steve Newell – The Complete Golf Manual

Posture
"Your left shoulder should be lower than the right"

  • 20 Ball Test (7 Iron)
  • Overall Rating
4.8

Summary

Result: Square Clubface, Straight Path and More Distance

I decided to combine tips #3 and #4 because they both dealt with posture prior to hitting. My focus was on getting the club butt pointing correctly and then lowering my right shoulder. At first, I felt as if I was in an uncomfortable position but soon got use to it. The shoulder tilt REALLY made a difference in my swing. It seemed to allow me to get the club more inside and thus I ended up with a swing path on average that was “straight”. This is a good sign. In addition, I hit the ball much better, hitting inside 15 feet SEVEN times out of the twenty shots (much better than I did previously). Lastly, I saw that I hit the ball farther with improved swing speed. I still hit some wild shot to both sides of the green but my good shots turned into great shots. I was very pleased with these posture tips.

 

Tip #5A – Stance

Jack Nicklaus – My 55 Ways To Lower Your Score

Stance
"Turn the left foot out 45˚ and right foot forward creating an open stance"

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Review
  • 20 Ball Test (7 Iron)
  • Overall Rating
3.8

Summary

Result: Slight Inside-Out Path, Closed Clubface, Better finish

The results of this tip really surprised me. Opening my stance, I thought would make it difficult to get the club on an inside path and I really believed I would slice it. That did not happen. My swing path actually was MORE inside-out then it has been to this point. I even hit a couple of perfect Open 2 degree and inside-out path shots which is part of drawing the ball. The best outcome of this tip was that by opening my left foot, I really felt I could get a good finish and rebound. This was a great feeling to have. On the other hand, I did not like the feeling on the downswing. I felt like I was coming across the ball. I will most certainly have to compare this to a closed stance.

Update 2/13

After attempting the open stance tip from Jack Nicklaus this week, I was disappointed in my results. I felt that I had a tendency to come over the top with my swing and that I was not able to get the proper turn or power.

Therefore, I am going to try closing my stance still keeping the 45 degree left foot. Hopefully, this will give me more room to get the club back and on plane. Furthermore, I hope it will get me more power and a better feeling in my swing mechanics.

Tip #5B – Stance

Piers Ward – MeandMyGolf

Stance
"Change your stance to Closed for better contact"
  • 20 Ball Test (7 Iron)
  • Overall Rating
4.3

Summary

Results: Better Shoulder Turn, Closed Clubface

I closed my stance in hopes that it would help my swing path and feel. The closed stance feels much better and I am able to get a full backswing. It also helped get my hands through in and release. With the target at 150 yards, I did not hit the green as much as I liked in the 20 shots but mostly because of distance problems. Overall, I am going to go with a closed stance and my left foot flaired at a 45 degree angle to help my lower body.

Update 2/24

After reading the last chapter of David Ledbetter’s book The Fundamentals of Hogan, I decided I wanted to try out Ben Hogan’s idea of positioning the ball in the same place no matter what club while the stance varies. Previously, I would place the ball back as my clubs would get shorter. This works but I do feel my swing mechanics are not as repeatable. I found that sometimes the ball would be forward a little bit or back too much throwing my swing off. By having one spot to place the ball (off the left heel), I will be more consistent. 

I also like the idea of having a more open stance with my short irons and a more closed stance with my driver. The shorter swing mechanics with my short irons will give me more accuracy and the closed stance will produce that big shoulder turn with my driver. I still like the closed stance but I am going to give it try and see how it feels. 

Tip #5C – Stance (Ball Position)

Stance
"Ball stays in same place while stance width varies. Feet closer and aimed more open as club gets shorter"

REVIEW
  • 20 Ball Test (7 Iron)
  • Overall Rating
3

Summary

Result: More Outside-to-in Swing, Worse Contact

Thought I would try Hogan’s ball positioning approach only to decide that I do not like an open stance. I was hoping it would be help give me a consistent ball position but I found that I do not like having the ball so forward when hitting my short irons. I prefer the ball to be back. It was much easier to come over the top and I had many more outside-in shots. I also felt that by having the ball forward when hitting my short irons, I made worse contact. I topped a few balls in the 20 ball test. Overall, I am going back to a closed stance.

Tip # 6 – The Waggle

David Ledbetter – The Fundamentals of Hogan

Trigger
"During the waggle, the right elbow touches the front of the right hip; the left elbow rotates a little"
REVIEW
  • 20 Ball Test (7 Iron)
  • Overall Rating
4.8

Summary

Results: Better Takeaway, Inside Out Path

Ben Hogan believed that the waggle was extremely important to a golfer in that it setup the backswing. It was a key transition to establish a feel and rhythm for the swing to come. I love the waggle in my golf routine. I think it gets me focused on the proper takeaway and allows me to see that inside path. I most likely take the club too much inside but I like how it feels and it fits with how Hogan wanted the right elbow (touching the right hip). After hitting 20 shots with a pre routine waggle, I found that it helped me get inside out on my swing path. In fact, 50% of my shots were true inside out while in my Break 80 challenge, I am seeing less than 40% inside out. I am big on visualizing my swing and the waggle helps me do just that.

 

Tip #7A – Body Press

Jim McLean – The X-Factor

Trigger
"Trigger a good swing by pushing off right instep, push your right knee forward and shift your hips toward target"
 
REVIEW
  • 20 Ball Test (7 Iron)
  • Overall Rating
2.5

Summary

Results: Poor Takeaway, Bad Tempo

Jim McLean is a huge advocate for a body press as opposed to the more common hand press. Starting from a dead stop will create a jerky takeaway and poor rhythm. I have always started from a dead stop and I don’t truly feel it has hurt my swing mechanics. After practicing the body press, I was convinced that I don’t need it. I became very frustrated. It slowed my tempo down to 1.2 seconds when normally I am at 1.0 and I was thinking more about getting my body started then the actual swing. It also changed my clubface angle and I was all over the place in the 20 shots. I did finally get my tempo back but could never really get the proper start. I felt I began to sway my body which is a real death move in any swing. Not many golfers today body press and I am not going to incorporate this move into my swing either.

 

Tip #8 – Takeaway (Left Shoulder)

Nick Bradley – The 7 Laws of the Golf Swing

Takeaway
"The Left arm should be parallel to the toe line and the butt should point at the ball"

 

Tip #9 – Takeaway (Left Wrist)

Paul Kopp – Sequence Series

Takeaway
"Take the cup out of the left wrist making it flat on the takeaway keeping the clubface square to the ball"
REVIEW
  • 20 Ball Test (7 Iron)
  • Overall Rating
4.8

Summary

Results: Inside Swing Path, Flat Left Wrist

Paul Kopp is a sequence coach who goes in-depth into every aspect of the swing. I love how detailed he gets about how to get the left wrist flat on the takeaway and still keep the clubface square to the ball. I have practiced this maneuver everyday for the past month and I believe it has really helped my swing. After hitting 20 ball today, I was able to get the club on plane better and more inside out. I have struggled to get my path correct but after flattening left wrist seemed to help. I had over 50% of my swings inside out and none were the dreaded outside in. I believe that this tip also helped get my left arm parallel to my toe line as tip #8 states. I will continue to work on this move and incorporate into my swing.

 

Tip #10 – Takeaway (Deep)

Christo Garcia – My Swing Evolution

Takeaway
"Reach for your right pocket with your left hand and then throw the club over the right shoulder"

Soren Kjeldsen  reaching in the right pocket

REVIEW
  • 20 Ball Test (7 Iron)
  • Overall Rating
5

Summary

Results: Inside-Swing Path, More Consistent, Better Shoulder Turn

I love this swing tip. This is the single swing thought that has helped me the most. By thinking “right pocket, right shoulder”, I get the deep takeaway I was hoping for and keeps my hands inside. This has really helped change my swing path from outside-in to inside-out. It also helps me visualize what I am doing and I can check it on video. I get a great shoulder turn as I pretend to throw the club through my right shoulder. In addition, I can also use the “right pocket” phrase to turn my hips correctly. Greg Norman says “right hip back” but I use “right pocket” back. This tip has helped me recover from one of the worst practice sessions of the year. Highly recommend using it if you are interested in a deep takeaway and flat swing like me.

 

Swing Mechanic Tips #11-#20