Hitting The Driver - Before, After, And Beyond


Posted by Dexter Francois | Posted in , , , , , , | Posted on Saturday, January 15, 2011

I finally got out to play a round of golf today. I was eager to see how I would play after the changes I have made with my swing in the past few months. I played with Hurchell and Kevin whom you met when we golfed with Al E. Gator and made friends with "Iggy" the Iguana.

We played at Palmetto Golf Course which has always been a challenge for me. I have never played well there in the past. Never broken 90 on this track until today. I posted an 85, losing only one ball in the process, which is a feat because there is a good amount of water on this course.

My ball striking is very much improved. I have also gained a lot of distance. I flew the green on a couple of occasions, not realizing that the ball even had a chance to travel that far. Believe me. I am not complaining:-)

I should have shot as low as an 80 if I were able to knock in a few five footers. I think I missed four or five from that distance. But here's the kicker. On the par 3, 11th hole, I hit my tee shot over a net that guards the adjacent street. Luckily, the ball hit a palm tree and fell straight down. I had a slight angle into the green and pitched it to forty feet away from the cup. At least I was putting. The putt was downhill and pretty much straight. I told myself that all I had to do was start it on the correct line and let gravity take over. I hit the putt at a perfect pace and it trickled into the hole to save par. I can't hit a five footer, but a forty footer drops, dead center. This game can really mess with your head if you allow it to.

I filmed my driver swing for the first time since  "Ruthless" Mike Southern first saw a video of my swing a several months ago. Mike has been teaching me how to understand the golf swing so that I could get rid of my coming over the top move. I think we have made tremendous progress and what is amazing, is the fact that he been able to help me with only the aid of one video clip and the written description of my swing here on this blog. 

The following are before and after videos of my swing with the driver. I still start my swing to the inside a little bit too much and I am still kind of over-the-toppy(making up phrases now), but I think the improvement is evident.

My posture at address has improved. In the first video it looks like I am reaching for the ball. This caused me to be off-balance. The other thing I noticed was the positioning of my head throughout the swing. If you hold a ruler at the top my head in both videos, you will notice that my head is all over the place in the first video. But in the second video, my head stays level pretty much throughout. This is a sign that I am maintaining my spine angle better now, than I did in the past.

So we have come this far and I feel good about what is to come. Mike has done an excellent job with the limited resources he had at his disposal. As mentioned before, Mike has been teaching about the golf swing. Now that I have a better understanding of what needs to be done, I can look at the video and make the necessary adjustments to my swing.

I still need work, but we're getting there. There are other parts of my game that I need to pay attention to, such as chipping and putting. I definitely left more than a few strokes out there today. Now that I have the Kodak Playsport, I will be shooting more videos of drills pertaining to these facets of the game. Until then...Have a great round and always hit your target.  




Posted: 1/15/2011 • Share on Facebook
Palmetto Golf Course (Palmetto) Tees: Blue, Slope: 136, Rating: 71.7

Palmetto Front Nine
Hole 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9


6 5 5 4 4 5 5 5 5

# Putts: 2 2 1 2 2 1 1 1 2

Back Nine
Hole 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18


5 3 6 5 4 3 6 4 5

# Putts: 1 1 2 2 1 1 3 2 2

Birdies: 1
Pars: 4
Bogeys: 10
Doubles: 3
Par 3 Avg: 4.0
Par 4 Avg: 4.8
Par 5 Avg: 5.5
FIR: 3 / 14
GIR: 3 / 18
Putts: 29
Putts per GIR: 1.7
Scrambling: 2 / 15
Bounce Backs: 4 / 12

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Comments (6)

  1. January 16, 2011 at 8:47 AM

    Swing is looking better, congrats. Have you seen any change in the distance with the new swing?

  2. January 16, 2011 at 9:45 AM

    Thanks Patrick. I have seen the most increase in distance with my irons. Before I would struggle to get a 7-iron to 140 yards. Now I can get it to about 160-165 yards.

    This was actually the first time I hit driver since about September of last year. I wasn't trying to swing hard. Just working on feeling the swing again. Ironically, because I wasn't trying to hit it hard, I hit some really good, "longish" drives without much effort.

    Thanks for stopping by Patrick. Hope to see you again.

    ***How funny. I'm not signed into google yet and the word verification word they gave me is "shank". How appropriate:-)

  3. January 16, 2011 at 2:04 PM

    I think you're being too judgmental about your swing, Dex. I've watched that second video several times, and you look great! You are NOT coming inside too much, and you are NOT "over-the-toppy," as you put it. Time for a quick lesson on how to view your videos!

    You think you're too inside because you're looking at your hands, not your arms -- specifically, your right arm. You're still rolling your wrists and forearms a little -- that's a bad habit that will take you a little more work to overcome (and I'll give you a simple drill for that in a minute) -- but your right elbow isn't bending until you are well past waist-high. That is a gorgeous one-piece takeaway, Dex!

    Likewise, you're looking at the wrong thing when you think you're over the top. An OTT move happens at your right shoulder -- look at your video again and you'll see how level that shoulder stays through the change of direction. Again, a gorgeous change of direction. All your hard work has really paid off!

    That slight lift you see -- the one you think is an OTT move -- goes back to those "rolling wrists" of yours. Rolling your wrists that way causes you to lay the club off a little at the top, so your hands have to twist the other way at the start of the downswing to get the club back on line. (I hope you noticed that you aren't rolling them nearly as much as you used to. This is a classic example of fixing a big problem -- your takeaway -- and having it help solve other problems.)

    Again, this looks worse than it is, and it's a simple fix. In fact, I had the exact same problem years ago, so I'm going to give you the same drill that Carl gave me. I know for a fact that it works, and you can use it indoors if necessary because you don't always have to make a full swing. Are you ready?

    Often what we "feel" we're doing isn't what we're actually doing. That's why you hear teachers like Hank Haney or Michael Breed tell their students to exaggerate their movements. In your case, you feel like your wrists and the club shaft are on line when they're actually turned too much. Therefore, we're going to exaggerate so much in the other direction that you feel like you're out of position.

    Take a wedge. When you reach waist-high on your backswing -- and you don't have to swing back down, just swing your one-piece takeaway to waist-high THEN STOP -- I want the club shaft to point straight up in the air. When you reach that point, take a good look at it, then set up again and repeat as many times as desired. And then use this as part of your pre-swing routine before you hit shots... at least for a while.

    Now pay attention, because this is very important: Don't look at the shaft when you actually make shots! Look at the ball like normal, make your normal one-piece takeaway and swing to the top, but try to feel as if the shaft points straight up at waist-high. Yes, this is an early cock instead of the later cock you're using now, but this change is a necessary evil. In time, you'll be able to make this move with a late cock if you want to. Right now, we're far more concerned with correcting your wrist over-rotation.

    I can hear your thoughts now -- "But that's going to make me too steep! I'll start going over the top again!"

    No you won't. When you make your regular shot, the momentum of the club head and shaft will force your swing to travel on plane... which means your wrists will be on plane as well. But you'll stop the extra turning your wrists make, which is why you're laying the club off now!

    Try this for a while, then tape your swing again. I bet you'll see the change clearly then... but I'm betting you'll see some improved consistency in your shots even sooner.

  4. January 17, 2011 at 9:18 AM

    It's raining today so I am forced to practice in the living room. You called it. I was concerned about getting too steep. You read my mind as always.

    As I look into the mirror, and make the move, I see that I do stay on plane, and the shaft is no longer laid off. Seems like the early wrist cock naturally puts me in the right position.

    I watched a slo-mo of Tiger's swing from 2008, and I see the difference in the positions of our shafts at waist high. His shaft is a lot more vertical while mine is still pointing straight back.

    I'm guessing this will help me with my lag on the downswing as well. I've also been working on keeping the wrist cocked on the way down longer as I swing through the ball. I hear professional golfers say that this is how they gain more distance and better accuracy.

  5. January 17, 2011 at 1:58 PM

    You're starting to think about mechanics in a good way now, Dex. Not just "how do I do this?" but "why does this happen?" If you think about many of Tiger's comments as he's been working with Sean Foley, he frequently says he's trying to understand the teachings. It's not that Tiger doesn't understand what he's trying to do; rather, he's trying to understand how his body reacts as he tries to do it.

    Keeping your wrist cock longer into the swing is one of those things as well. I've got some posts on what I call "the swoosh" -- you can find links on the Route 67 page -- that should help you understand the mechanics of it. The main thing I'll say here is that delaying how soon your wrists uncock is a side effect of proper movement during your swing. If you get too hung up trying to do it, you can throw off other aspects of your swing.

    Right now, focus on one thing at a time. Work on your wrist position going back. You can get probably 90-95% of your possible distance without worrying about when your wrists uncock... if you just swing properly. We'll work on getting that other 15 yards or so after you're pounding it 270-280 pretty regular. ;-)

  6. January 18, 2011 at 7:37 PM

    I feel like I'm thinking more like a golfer now thanks to you. It really helps speed up the learning process too. I feel that I have made a huge jump in the past few weeks because, like you said, I have a better understanding.

    We're supposed to have good weather tomorrow so I will take all of this to the practice course. One step at a time, but now you have peaked my interest. There's another 15 yards to be had? Now that's motivation.