I spent the summer getting in condition for a hike across the Grand Canyon — down from the north rim and out to the south rim. I made this same hike three years ago, and tried to play golf as well while getting in shape. The problem was, that the conditioning hikes made my legs too tired to play good golf, and playing golf didn’t let me rest between conditioning hikes. So golf went out this year.
My wife and I made the hike last week, and it’s now time to start playing again. I spent most of September at the driving range getting my swing back in shape, and also re-learning how to chip and putt. I was also having real trouble getting my driver off the ground, which is when I hauled out my old 2-wood and began getting the air that I was missing.
I have always thought that if you can hit the ball straight and you can putt, then you can score. So that’s what I’m working on mostly at the range. We have about one month of good weather for golf left in western Oregon, and I intend to take good advantage of it.
I was still hitting slap hooks, though, a problem that has plagued me for years. I finally found a solution, I think, by noticing that when I stopped at impact, my right elbow was sticking out. Sure enough this closes the clubface dramatically. Johnny Miller has a video called Johnny Miller’s Fixing Your Swing Golf Clinic, in which each section is about how to fix a particular ball flight flaw. Whenever something goes wrong, I watch this video and the solution is right there. In the hook section, he pointed out that if your right elbow comes out, you’ll close the clubface and hit those slappy hooks. That’s good enough confirmation for me.
So I’m working on keeping my right elbow tucked against my right side as the club comes into the ball. This is new, and as with everything new, it’s hard to practice a new thing without either overdoing it or forgetting everything else that I’m doing right.
You might think that by not playing golf that this was a lost year golfing-wise for me, but remember that in May I got started learning how to release the club through the ball, and now I have figured out about the right elbow. This could end up as my best year yet.