I finally figured out why they call us desk jockeys and not desk athletes.  Do you ever get to that point mid-round where your game starts to fall apart and you don’t know why?  Usually it’s a couple of loose swings that leave you in bad spots.  Then you begin to press to get back on track.  It can be doubly frustrating if you’ve gotten off to a good start – you know the feeling.  It became apparent yesterday when the Bill Shoemaker pull hook made an unwelcome return appearance.

Our on-course struggles can usually be traced back to habits or swing faults that are old and tough to break.  Readers who viewed my on-line lesson with FixYourGame.com know my fault is losing my spine angle on the downswing.   As a result my swing path gets too shallow and I release the club too early, creating the pull hook.  Understanding the problem is the first step but correcting is difficult.  What’s rewarding is making a fix mid-round, and being able to save your score in the face of a budding catastrophe, which I managed to do yesterday.

I knew that this move is caused because my body sometimes slips into a nonathletic position at address and I think it’s tied to my years of sitting poorly for long periods of time at work.  Special thanks to thebirdiehunt for his recent post on good posture which turned on the light bulb for me.

Pinehurst #2 - 17 tee
Poor address posture.
Adam Scott From Allexperts.com
Adam Scott
From Allexperts.com

For desk jockeys with bad posture, there’s a couple of things you can try.

  1. Visualization:  See the photo of me at address with my rounded back and shoulders.  This is a poor position to start from and I’m not ready to make a good athletic move.  Then look at the image of Adam Scott with his straight back, chin up, knees flexed and spine angle set.  He’s ready to unleash some serious power.  It helps me when I address the ball and retain the image of his setup.
  2. Over correct the swing fault.  I’ve tried many drills to fix the posture issue.  The most beneficial is the chair drill, where you take a back swing and a down swing and keep your rear end in contact with an object standing behind you.  Use a bag stand, wall, or otherwise.  Here I’m using a chair from my patio.

    Chair Drill
    Chair Drill

As part of my fitness workout, I take 50 swings and stay in contact with the chair.  In my round yesterday, I imagined staying in contact with the chair and was able to make good swings and eliminate the pull hook.  A word of caution:  you should be very comfortable with a drill you call on during play, otherwise, it will probably work for one or two swings before something else goes wrong.

Understanding your faults is half the battle.  Know that when you hit a bad shot, it’s probably the result of something you’ve done wrong in the past.  Work to identify your faults and get with your professional to develop a plan to correct.  Recognize them when they occur during play, and don’t panic.  Good luck and play well!

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