I had my first lesson in quite some time this rather wet and windy afternoon at Chilworth with the ever excellent pro Gary: I felt it was about time, as I do worry about regular practice doing nothing other than reinforce existing bad swing habits. I asked him to focus on hitting the hybrids in my bag (which happen to be steel-shafted Callaway Big Bertha Diablo 3H and 4H, ie 21° and 24°) as I have felt less confident with them than with my other clubs.
In common, it seems, with many other people out there, I had been finding myself hitting a hook on poorly struck shots and had been rather confused by the conflicting advice I had found out there on the web. Some say sweep the ball as with a fairway wood with the ball forward in the stance, others recommend placing the ball more centrally and hitting down as with an iron.
Gary is of the latter persuasion and bringing the ball back to about one ball forward of mid-stance certainly seemed to bring the tendency to hook under control, despite the club having a slightly closed face by design. The other element that video of my swing flagged up as in need of attention was my lingering tendency to be a bit flat footed at impact and fail to shift weight on to my left side early enough. So there was some concentration on creating a little bump with the left hip to instigate the downswing and to ensure striking the ball with weight already transferred to the left foot. Result: the ball fairly flying off the face of the Diablo in the direction nature (and I) intended. Thanks Gary. Now my only concern is whether it is worth trading the steel shafted hybrids for some graphite equipped equivalents, as they don’t feel quite right weight-wise and in terms of general feel, given every other club in the bag has a graphite shaft.
How long it will be before I can take my new-found skills with the hybrids out on to the course is, however, anybody’s guess. Chilworth is, along with just about every other course in the area, closed because of the recent incessant rain which has turned bunkers into ponds and fairways into wetlands. In a couple of days’ time the weather is forecast to become somewhat drier, but who knows how long it will take for all that accumulated water to drain away and for us golfers to be released from our frustrated misery. All I can say is, I hope it’s before I go completely stir crazy!