I like the stuff of golf. Whether it be a tartan headcover from Seamus Golf, an embroidered bag from Jones Golf Bags, or my new Mizuno MP-15s (plug project partners in blog post, √), the goodies of the game can inspire and lift one’s spirits through a long and slushy winter. But my latest golf item wasn’t a toy or a club or a new pair of FootJoys (almost forgot them). It was this beautiful document that recently rolled out of my printer. How lovely. But it is certainly one thing to fork over the 150 quid to enter, and another to make good on Julian’s wager.
The last four months have seen a great deal of time and work put into the planning of this trip, but before the itinerary was even worth thinking about, there was this messy business of locating my golf swing.
It had been over ten years since I really cared about the sum of my scores, so I had to spend the last two years making sure this book would have a final chapter. This meant many 36-hole days, chasing the ball around McCall Country Club and Meadowlands CC here in Philadelphia, as well as Belleair CC in Florida (the plugs just keep on coming), getting my handicap down to an entry eligible 0.0 (I made it this October by a thin .3 strokes). And it meant going back to the place I thought I might never return to after my work on Paper Tiger. Back to the woodshed/swing studio for me.
I have managed to write about my own golf for fifteen years without ever having to show my swing to a reader. I’ve been able to hide behind the curtain, playing golf through a keyboard, remaining clothed by the safety of authorial interpretation and turns of phrase. But this book is about getting better at this game, and since the technology of a blog allows it, it’s time to get golf naked and show any curious golf-heads how the swing sausage is being made.
I’ve been fortunate to work with two of the best in the golf teaching business–in Philadelphia, my coach is Mike Dynda, a top teacher in the section, recent Best of Philly winner, head coach of the Drexel Dragons, AimPoint guru, YouTube sensation, and long-time friend from my days when I was a bag room lacky and he was first assistant at Rolling Green Golf Club.
And I have been blessed by the chance to get back to work with Dr. Jim Suttie (my swing guide through Paper Tiger), a coaching legend whose teaching expertise well outdistances my game (on my most recent visit to his studio in Naples, the gentleman taking a lesson before me owned a green jacket–the kind you win and don’t keep at home). He’s still one of the most sincere, generous, and wise men in the game, and his continued support for my golf quests is humbling.
So I’ll whip back the curtain here and show a little video from some sessions with Mike and Doc. These aren’t terribly recent, so I’ll hide behind the disclaimer that whatever ugliness you see here has been fixed and transformed–and that I’ve lost weight.
A note for swing nerds: I play with a pretty closed clubface (always have), and the corrections we have been trying to make address my crap posture at impact (my hips move forward and spine angle breaks down) which leads to an early release (building lag has been the constant through every lesson since 2004 to today)–is it the breakdown in posture that leads to the early release, or the early release that makes me stand-up at impact? Or is it the fact that the clubhead gets snatched inside and stuck behind my hands on take-away, which puts the shaft across-the-line at the top, leading to the funky stand-up move, leading to no lag? (If you’re not a golfer, you probably just became grateful for that fact.)
It is my goal to remove all of the above from my mind and my lexicon come April 26th when I tee it up in Royal Cinque Ports–I’m trying to get the mechanical stuff down as well as I can, then travel with one or two simple swing thoughts, and make the swing-I-got work as well as it might across the links of the UK.
Funny, I’ve written about some pretty revealing and emotional stuff in my time. But showing my golf move feels strangely vulnerable. Here’s some video that confirms my shortcomings, but offers me some hope as well. (Dynda’s lesson shows a drill where I’m trying to build lag/a later release that will compress the ball–weak wipes are my miss.)