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A before and after my second lesson.
Welcome to Golfer to Golfer, where we tap into the insights of one avid player in hopes that the rest of us can take away something that might improve our own games.
Back at the beginning of the golf season, I took a lesson from GOLF Top 100 Teacher Jonathan Yarwood that changed my game.
When I arrived at his studio in the majestic clubhouse of Alpine Country Club, I had next to zero pop in my game. My swing speed was meek and my average drive was embarrassingly short. Sure, I was a solid player, but I craved more power.
In the span of a one-hour lesson, I got what I so desired. A few technique tweaks from Yarwood and I was hitting bombs (by my standards, at least). I felt as though my game was transformed, and my best season yet was ahead of me.
Reality was not so kind.
While I did have plenty more power than before, some new misses reared their ugly heads. When things went wayward, I’d hit ugly hooks or huge blocks. And with the newfound power, these misses were more penal than before, too. My best season yet did not come to fruition.
So, I booked a follow up with Yarwood to see if he could get me back into proper form.
Once again, I ventured out to northeast New Jersey in hopes of a quick fix to transform my game, and once again he had me hit 10 balls each with my 7-iron and my driver.
Before we even looked at the footage, he had a simple suggestion.
“Your left hand grip is too strong,” he said. “Try turning it a bit to the left.”
Everything starts with the fundamentals, and this was a good reminder that bad habits can creep in.
Next, we dug into the numbers.
“You’re path is way out to the right with your irons, but to the left with your driver,” he said. “Why would that be?”
I try to use the same swing for both, so this was a perplexing question. Luckily for me, Yarwood is an expert, and he knew just the fault.
In my quest to gain more power, I’d shallowed out my swing quite a bit to get my path further to the right. However, I had overdone this swing change and was now getting the club stuck behind me on the downswing.
Here’s the key in how we went about fixing it.
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My takeaway has been all sorts of messed up this summer. I’d been sucking the club too far inside on my takeaway, and my hands were getting too deep at the top. As a tall, lanky player, this was no bueno.
“You’re a long lever player,” Yarwood said. “The last thing you need is getting those arms too deep.”
To fix this, Yarwood had me set my wrists much earlier in the backswing and feeling as though I was getting more up and down getting to the top. This put my hands in a much more neutral position at the top, and a place where I wouldn’t get stuck.
From here, my swing plane was much steeper — but not too steep — coming into the ball. If I felt like I was “posting up” on my left side, I was able to consistently produce the proper swing plane.
After my last lesson, I was on Cloud Nine thinking I’d found just the thing to fix my swing for good. After this lesson, I drove home with a more level-headed mindset.
Largely, the follow-up lesson reminded me that the golf swing is ever-changing, and it’s always a work-in-progress. There’s no such thing as the change that will fix you for good.
Even if you fix one thing, there are others that will pop up and need tending to. Over the course of a season, your swing will change as you implement different thoughts and positions, and these changes will cause compensations elsewhere that could be hurting you.
That’s why it’s important to continue to take lessons as you continue your golf journey. One lesson will never be enough to fix you for good.
Now, if you’ll excuse me — I need to go book another lesson.
Zephyr Melton is an assistant editor for GOLF.com where he spends his days blogging, producing and editing. Prior to joining the team at GOLF.com, he attended the University of Texas followed by stops with Team USA, the Green Bay Packers and the PGA Tour. He assists on all things instruction and covers amateur and women’s golf.
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