Finally, The Breakthrough I’ve Been Waiting For, Part One

Yesterday was the most wonderful of days!

All of the things I’ve been trying to regroove.  All of the things I’ve been whining and crying about.  All of the things I have been discouraged about because my execution was not at the level of my intellect – all of those things have gelled into the beginning of what I am certain of is my authentic reborn swing.

The difference between yesterday’s swing and the one I talked about in a recent post titled A Swing Is Born is that while indeed my swing a few weeks ago was also my new swing, my swing yesterday was absolutely effortless and I repeated it over and over and over again.  Yes that’s right!  I had no trepidation standing over the golf ball.  The block has dissolved.  My only thought was I get it.  I really get it now. 

In other words, I am starting to feel what I’m supposed to do and I’m doing it.  Simple as that.

And I do.  I am not saying every shot I hit is perfect.  No, I am just saying that what my body knows has finally caught up to what my mind knows and the execution can’t help but be right behind.  And it is.

Granted, the actual breakthrough occurred in my home.  Let me explain.

The Powerful Combination of Online Videos and Face-to-Face Instruction

First of all, the knowledge I needed to perform a proper swing has come from two sources:  Pete Black my golf instructor and the internet.  Pete Black was the guy who stood there and watched me swing and told me what I needed to do.  At first, I rather hated him and wanted him to shut up a minute.  Much of what he said passed by me because I was still processing what he said before.  Information charged at me like a bull.   It overwhelmed and confounded me.  I thought I might explode.  Slope, lie, obstacles, wind, yeah OK, got that, then distance, direction, trajectory, connect the club face to shaft to hands to core and then say it backwards please – core, hands, shaft, club face.  Pete must have repeated the words square, parallel and angle a thousand times.  He spoke rapid fire.  He loves catchy little rhymes too – and they’re helpful, when I remember them.  I did enjoy his “hot dog in the bun” metaphor for how the right thumb pad folds over the left thumb in the grip.  I recorded two of his lessons and will post more Pete-isms as I rediscover them.  A lot of what he teaches can be found anywhere golf swing fundamentals are discussed.  His teachings are based on golf’s great theorist Ben Hogan and his gem of a book Five Lessons.  Bottom line:  without Pete Black I wouldn’t have anything to talk about here.

Interestingly enough, I did explode one day at the driving range – in an absolute fit of rage and tears.  I was on the top deck and I feel sorry for the lone guy hitting below me.  What he must have heard!  And I think I even hit a ball that ricocheted off the safety netting back into the stalls below.  It was that bad.  By the time I tossed the bag of clubs that had so betrayed me back in the trunk of my car, I was in full meltdown mode and wasn’t fit to pull out of the parking lot until I settled down.  Somehow I made it home safely that day.

My other source has been the internet and this has been a huge help as well.  There are so many instructional youtube videos and golf sites, one can’t even count them all.  Some are mediocre, some are just awful, and some are rather excellent.  I found many good sites that teach the fundamentals just as I learned them from Pete Black.  It boils down to just being able to connect with the teaching style of whoever is making the video.  By far, my favorite youtube video channel has become Me and My Golf.  Two athletic, young, stylish and oh-so-cute British chaps – Andy Proudman and Piers Ward, have made multitudes of videos addressing very specific topics in golf.  They break it down into single bits of information and this is what started the breakthrough for me.  Andy and Piers helped me sort out what Pete Black was teaching me in person.

Okay, this is the end of part one.  There is much more to tell and I am excited to tell it all because this is a very big deal – to rebuild a golf swing successfully.  I saw my first sign of true and lasting progress yesterday and I have been beaming ever since.  I’ve swung the golf club well before, but didn’t know what I had done.  Now I know.  My body knows.

The statistics are that only 10% of people who attempt to rebuild their swing from top to bottom actually do it successfully.  I am not talking flashy quick fixes here – like how to bomb your driver, instantly shave 10 strokes off your handicap with a simple move, or the ‘secret’ to golf.  I am talking the sweat and tears and mental anguish one must endure to rid themselves of the many compensations they’ve put into their swing over the years.  I can honestly say that it is one of the hardest things I’ve ever done in my life – and I’m 55 years old!  And naturally, I am not done.  This is an ongoing process.  I’ve only just begun.

So please tune in for the next installment of this most wonderful true story!

Happy golfing! Haven’t said that in awhile 😉




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