JORGE ZAMORA. Consultation 1.18.20
Jorge picked up his first golf club about 9 months ago and has been hooked ever since. He purchased a set of clubs on the Internet and added a Ping driver, which he has been unable to hit. I looked at the driver and found that it is Ping with a Stiff shaft and 10-degree loft clubhead, which accounts for the primary reasons he is unable to hit it.
As would be expected for a new golfer without professional instruction Jorge’s set up address and swing contains a number of flaws that can be corrected providing him with a serviceable swing that will help him enjoy the game even more.
Initial set up, posture and address were out of alignment with a good golf set up in order to swing the club and strike the ball properly. His legs were straight, almost locked at the knees, he was bent over from the waist with his head down too much and a somewhat rounded back. Both feet were fairly perpendicular to the target line and he had a very strong grip position.
The Takeaway was initiated with the hands and arms with an upper body sway that drifted outside the back foot and the upper body raised up from the waist during the backswing. The club was taken back too far inside resulting in an over the top swing back to the impact zone. Through-the-ball, again his upper body swayed outside his stance causing balance issues. His ball strikes with a 7-iron pulled low and left almost every time, which matched the over the top swing with a closed clubface in the impact zone.
Focus on the faults that will provide the quickest and biggest benefits for Jorge so he can continue to play golf while he improves his golf skills. I provided Jorge with several suggestions to improve both his set up and swing as follows:
GRIP—The upper hand [left] on the shaft was turned in too strong of a position and his grip on the club was too tight. We corrected the grip by turning it into a more neutral position on the shaft with only 2 knuckles showing when looking down at his hand position. The right hand was properly fitted at the base of the middle fingers with the palm’s lifeline covering the thumb of his left hand. The club was held so tight that it was about a 9 out of 10 scale. We brought that down to about a 5, or less. The goal is to have about 2 or 3.
STANCE & POSTURE—For most iron shots I instructed that the ball should be located just ahead the center of his stance. He was using a 7-iorn. His stance was shoulder width with knees flexed and the upper body hinged forward at the hips with chin up to provide proper alignment of the spine angle. I explained that this would help him to pivot around his spine as opposed to swaying and raising up during the backswing. He had been told by someone to keep the weight on his back foot [right] and I corrected that to even distribution of weight between front and back foot so that he can pivot and shift more easily. This allows him to pivot better as his weight shifts from his set up stance to his back foot in the backswing and then back to center and then to front foot distribution during the downswing, the impact zone and though to a more balanced finished with most of his weight shifted to the front foot
TAKEAWAY—I instructed Jorge to take the club straight back without lifting it with his hands and arms and to initiate the takeaway with his shoulder turn as the lead shoulder [left] turns under his chin. This prevents snatching the club up and back too far inside on the backswing that also results in the over the top downswing.
BACKSWING [The L Position and up]—During the backswing the left elbow became overly bent allowing the club to drop too low over his shoulders at the top. Jorge slipped on my elbow training sleeve so that he could feel and hear the clicking sound when his elbow bent. After that his elbow broke less at the elbow. At the top, the right elbow is at about a 45 degree angle. In the future we’ll work on bringing that more into a vertical position at the top of his backswing, but at least his elbow position is currently better than the typical new golfer, which displays the “chicken wing” elbow that flies away from their body.
TRANSITION—I advised Jorge that we will work on the transition in future lessons and explained that what we want to achieve is to have the hip shift toward the target line while his club is still climbing to the top of his swing. This move initiates the downswing on the correct path as opposed to the over the top swing path.
DOWNSWING—The downswing came less over the top as he practiced the takeaway initiated by his shoulder turn and his club took a more inside to down-the-target-line path. However, he mostly continued to pull his shots to the left. We adjusted his grip several times, but that didn’t seem to straighten out his ball flight. There still remained a traces of the over the top swing and this would naturally pull the ball to the left.
IMPACT ZONE—It appears that the clubface is traveling in a closed face position through the impact zone which also explains the pull to the left. I watched the clubface in the backswing and found that the club face was held back in the same position as it was in set up. For this reason, I knew he was not allowing his forearm bones to roll over in a natural rotation and this further indicated a stiffness and tension the arms, wrists and hands. We discussed this and he tried to allow the normal rotation of the club but will need to continue to work on allowing this natural rotation.
THROUGH-SWING AND FINISH—Jorge’s upper body sways past the forward foot [left] and his chest overturns to the left of target with an out of balance finish. We tried to correct this with a better pivot in the backswing and a hip shift in the forward swing while maintaining upper body centered between his feet.
SUMMARY—Jorge will benefit from regular lessons and I recommended once a week in the beginning with at least one day of practice in between, however due to other time commitments that he already has the lessons will be less frequent than this. As always, this is entirely up to the student in how quickly they want to progress and improve.