Mike Southern Gets Ruthless With My Golf Swing Part 4 - Coming Over The Top


Posted by Dexter Francois | Posted in , , , , | Posted on Wednesday, August 25, 2010

I am feeling so much better about my swing. It is like night and day. The loop is gone and I am swinging the club much more consistently. In part 4 of Mike Southern's "Dexter's coming Over The Top" series, Mike shows us how to get from waist high to the top of the swing. He explains that there are two positions at the top of the swing that we need to fall within. They are upright and neutral.

Mike explains "upright" and "neutral" as such:

In the "upright" swing your elbow bends less,so your hands go more up than back; and in the "neutral" swing it bends quite a bit, so your hands go more back than up.

Like I said we want to fall somewhere within these two. Whatever is the most comfortable for you, then you should stick with that. Mike used these pictures of Ai Miyazato and Justin Leonard to demonstrate to the two positions. Ai is much more upright which means her elbow comes up higher. Justin is in the neutral position. His elbow is closer to his body but still not touching his side.

In my former swing, I would start the takeaway by tucking my right elbow into my ribcage. It stayed tucked until I got to the top of my swing. From there I had no choice but to throw the club out and over in attempt to get back on the proper swing plane. I was the extreme opposite of Miyazato. The result was me hitting across the ball instead of down the line.

Now I am closer to Justin Leonard at the top of my swing. After practicing the drills that Mike gave me for getting to the top of the backswing, the neutral position just felt more natural. When I tried to get upright like Miyazato, it felt like I was picking my head up, thus losing my posture.

The drills for getting to the top are very easy. Mike explains what it is supposed to feel like and what we are looking to accomplish by practicing these drills. When you read his post, you will find that it easy to understand and with practice the results follow.

Mike posted a bonus article today as closure to this series. It deals with the downswing. Throughout this process I have only been taking half swings during my practice sessions. I just wanted to take it step by step. Now that we have the takeaway, it is time to let the ball fly.

But like I said do not get ahead of yourself. Practice the drills in part 4 and then move onto the downswing. It is all about baby steps. But soon we will be making giant leaps and bounds. Have a good round and always hit your target.

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Comments (4)

  1. August 25, 2010 at 4:07 PM

    I'm glad you feel good about your swing, Dex. The reason I spent two fairly long posts explaining the causes is because most of us don't even understand what got us into trouble, let alone why "the fix" should get us out of trouble! And I'm extremely happy that I explained the drills well enough that you could do them easily; clear explanations are really the hardest part.

    I want to backtrack a little and ask you about something you said a couple of days ago. You were working with just the takeaway drill at the time, and you said "I noticed that anytime my back swing got too long, I pulled it." I wasn't too surprised by that -- that's why I broke the backswing into two separate posts. I didn't want you to get too caught up in swing thoughts.

    Are you still pulling shots when you use the "drill" in the 4th post? If so, let me know if you're still having trouble once you incorporate the info in the "Coming Down" post. But I think your pulls will be a thing of the past once you've had a little time to get used to the motion. You're actually moving around less now, so the biggest change will be mental -- sometimes it's hard to believe that you don't have to do more to get that ball moving.

  2. August 26, 2010 at 10:26 AM

    I just got back from a good practice session. I didn't pull to many today. Most of my misses were to the right. Not slices, but more of a push. And with that, none of them were too far off. I think it may be more of an alignment issue when I miss now.

    I haven't thought much about the downswing. I don't want to over analyze it. I figure, if i get to the top in a good position, all I have to do is just come back down. The only thing I really think about is getting back into the one-piece takeaway position as I approach the ball.

    The other thing I worked on was finishing my shot. I watched the video of Ryo, and he has such a high nice finish. When I miss right, I know it's because I'm not getting a good finish.

    Towards the end of my practice, after missing three in a row to the right, I made myself hold a balance finish until the ball hit the ground. This helped straighten things out a bit. I'm still a little wobbly, but we're getting there.

    Before I left, I took a few full shots with my pitching wedge, and I am definitely hitting the ball further. The ball took off. When I walked it off, I averaged between 130-135 yards(I have my own par 3 practice course. I'll write a post about that soon).

    When I first started playing 3 years ago, I needed a 7-iron to hit it 135 yards. Good technique definitely makes a difference.

  3. August 26, 2010 at 11:18 AM

    OK, I just wondered. I suspect you're correct about your alignment, since your feet were lined up to the right originally -- a natural response to a pull. In fact, most of your observations seem right on the mark. Isn't it amazing how fixing one mistake has such wide-ranging effects?

    I know I keep saying this, but it takes about a month to get comfortable with any change; so don't worry too much if you still pull a few. You should see it happening less and less as the month progresses. You'll get where you think less about mechanics and more about "My hands go to THERE" (the place at the top of the backswing where they go during a good swing) and about where you want the ball to go.

    And yes, your yardage is going to improve. In your over-the-top swing, the club traveled a much longer distance and you lost more of your wrist cock before the clubhead reached the ball. Now more of that wrist cock will get to the hitting area.

    One other thing: As you get more comfortable with the swing change, I think you'll find your mid-irons are easier to hit. That's a combination of (1) not "wiping across" the ball from the outside and (2) more clubhead speed from the increased wrist cock.

    Keep me updated on how you're doing, and don't be afraid to ask me any questions. I'll do my best to answer them.

  4. August 26, 2010 at 3:38 PM

    My mid-irons need a lot of improvement. My G.I.R. average is terrible. My best scores have been when I hit at least six to eight greens. If I can improve this stat, 79 is right around the corner.

    I don't mind it taking a month to see real improvement. I just heard say Tiger say that his previous swing changes under Harmon and Haney took about a year and half to two years. So I'll be patient. Plus I like to practice. So no sweat.

    I'll keep you updated. Hopefully I can get some video up soon. I want to see what my new swing looks like. Thanks again Mike. I'll be talking to you.