For a computer you may find yourself faced with some problem that no amount of virus scans, software or setting tweaks, or software patching seems to fix. At that point, I have to decide do I keep trying and burn up valuable time and money or do I reinstall the OS. Sometimes reinstalling the OS is the better option. In a house, I may buy a fixer that requires so much work to try and fix some plumbing or structural issue that it will cost way too much money. Sometimes completely demolishing the problem section is better and cheaper than fixing the existing stuff.
Well, my swing was not seeing any improvement as I kept trying to fix each symptom - slice, shank, push, topping, chunking. It was like every little tweak I found that addressed a problem only created a newer problem and never addressed the root cause. My swing felt forced and unnatural, out of tempo and awkward. Applying the theory that sometimes you just have to start from scratch, I began a journey that has helped my enjoy golf so much more in the last few years even to this day.
I was lucky enough to get a gift of a round for two at Mare Island golf course in Vallejo, CA. It's a beautiful 18 hole course with stunning views that the officers of the late naval base got to enjoy when it was a 9 hole executive course.
I played with my eldest son and we both hadn't swung our clubs in a couple months and haven't played at a golf course in at least a couple years.
Had I not learned how to rebuild my swing several years ago, I don't think I would have enjoyed playing at this pretty difficult course (for me anyway) as much as I did, even though I scored 112 (or something like that)!
Forgetting it all - Hit the reset button
I had to mentally tell myself that everything about my golf swing was wrong. That assumption played a huge part in rebuilding my golf swing. I had to ditch everything I knew about swinging a golf club - my grip, stance, address, my back swing and downswing - I mean everything. I didn't know which part of my swing was messing me up and if I took any part with me on this rebuild journey I could theoretically bring the problem with me and be no better off. I had to start off with this assumption or jeopardize my golf playing enjoyment.
Now that I had this mental mindset going into the rebuild I could then begin to build up my golf swing from the ground up. For some of you, this may be the kind of thing you need. You pick up habits as you mature in your golf game as in anything in life and to unlearn them could benefit you so long as you commit to building it back up.
Golf G.P.A. - First the G - Grip
The very first thing I decided to work on was my G.P.A. As with this and all parts of my golf swing I focused on the basics and approached learning how to swing a golf club from a beginner's point of view. As best as I could anyway.
Let's start with the grip. The key things I used in my grip are probably the basic recommendations you get from all the blogs and magazine articles. Mind the V's that your hand makes on the grip in relationship the club face. Choose whether you want a 10 finger, pinky overlapped or interlocked. That will come from your preference and comfort. I use the pinky overlap grip. There are a few things that I always try to remember when gripping the club. The first thing is to allow the club to naturally rest in my palm so that the pressure of the club is felt on the "pad" of my thumb. It's that chunky part of your hand just under the thumb.
The reason I am conscious of that is because I can let my arm hang naturally without manipulating my wrist and the club shaft will be really close to 90 degrees from my spine. During the downswing I can trust that club head will be in a good position at impact and that I can rotate through my swing with a reasonable expectation of having a good impact.
Grip pressure is another point I try to remember when holding a club. I read somewhere that if you were to rate the strength of you grip in a 1 - 10 scale you want it somewhere in the 3 to 5 range. Another way it was put to me was to imagine that I was holding a tube of toothpaste and hold it just tight enough that if the cap were off, you don't squeeze an toothpaste out.
The reason for this is to keep tension at a minimum throughout the golf swing. Tension is bad. It robs your ball flight of speed and distance. Try it. Hold a golf club the tightest you can. Swing. Then loosen your grip to how I described. Then swing. You'll feel the "whip" action. That whip action increases club head speed and therefore distance.
I think that's enough for now and it seems likely that this will be more than 3 parts. See you next article!