So often we start out the new year with resolutions —perhaps to lose weight, save money, or learn a new language. If you’re a golfer you may have had a resolution to lower your handicap.
I had a very specific goal this year to spend my summer working on achieving a more athletic swing. My husband and I spend our summers in Lake Tahoe, so I had exactly nine weeks to work with my coach up there, and I was on a mission.
Handicap Versus Athletic Swing
I knew if I played regularly this summer I could probably get my handicap down, but was that the most important thing to me? What about improving my actual swing - the way it looks, feels and performs consistently for me at any course? On July 1st I told Chris Tschirhart, my PGA teaching pro at Lahontan GC, that I was very serious about making some changes to my swing. I wanted, no, I needed to have a more athletic swing that would serve me on my golfing journey. After all, I’m a golf rules blogger and there are videos of my clumsy swing all over Instagram.
Chris knew he had his work cut out for him and he knew he had to coach me differently than most of his other students. He knew sports analogies and comparisons to PGA Tour players weren’t going to work for me. So we got back to basics. Here’s what we worked on:
1. Set-Up: I had developed the bad habit of manipulating my wrists right before I took the club back, so we worked on keeping my wrists still (no flips, no rolls) good alignment, and the proper ball position for a particular club.
2. Maintaining the triangle: This may not be a proper golf term, but for me, thinking about a triangle helps me keep my arms straight. I want my arms to move with
my body rather than work independently.
3. Focus: Since I suffer from ADHD, getting through 18 holes isn’t easy. Chris helped me stay in the game by encouraging little bets throughout my round. A dollar for closest to the flag or for sinking a long putt helps keep me focused on the results, even when my mind starts to wander.
Does Equipment Matter?
The other major change I made this year was to my equipment. I got fitted with XXIO clubs, which are specifically designed for a slow to moderate swing speed, with flexible shafts and a larger sweet spot. I wouldn’t have believed the website’s claims that their clubs are “easier to hit”, but the proof was in the pudding. At one point this summer I actually played 11 days in a row. (No, that’s not a typo). In the past I could only play up to three days in a row before my back began tightening up. But my new swing with my XXIO clubs was actually an easier swing that allowed me to play eleven days in a row without feeling any pain whatsoever.
Now, this is not something I want to do often, nor would my schedule normally allow it, but the fact that this 53-year-old woman played eleven days in a row was a miracle. And my index went down by almost four points! I think that means, for once in my life, I might have accomplished my new year’s resolution.
Known as the Rules Diva, Marcela launched Girlfriends Guide To Golf to provide a relaxed, fun environment to learn the rules and etiquette of golf. Her On-Course Rules Experiences help players gain more confidence, lower their scores and have more fun.