For you Greek mythology fans, I flew too close to the sun with my golf swing this month and, like Icarus, I fell from the sky.
My confidence was riding high after last month’s fitting for my new clubs at Modern Golf and getting my 3-wood distance into the 250s. But then I started watching footage of my swing and compared my form to that of PGA Tour pros. I even did a side-by-side snapshot of myself and Tiger Woods. I started obsessing about how my swing didn’t look as good as the greatest golfer of all time.
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That forced me down a YouTube rabbit hole looking up wrist-hinge videos and focusing way too much on my arms, changing my swing over and over again in my living room. Paying too much attention to my arms made me forget about my hips and the weight transfer needed to make clean and efficient contact. I was completely lost.
At the park where I normally hit wedge shots, I was slicing, duffing and topping everything. I literally couldn’t hit the ball in the air. It was awful.
I almost cancelled the entire series.
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Luckily, I had a session booked with Stew Bannatyne, my instructor from Modern Golf, and he was able to reverse all of the bad habits I created for myself. The takeaway: don’t try to make swing changes myself, leave it to the professional.
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I wanted to focus on my golf fitness more this month. I’ve been working out regularly but nothing golf-specific. I need more clubhead speed to give myself a little more margin for error if I’m going to hit 300 yards. To do that, I visited Michele Liew at Swing Lab Performance and Therapy. Michele put me through a 3D assessment of my swing to identify the weak points.
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She also put me through three power tests and mobility drills — I passed them all with flying colours. So, I have all of the ingredients to hit 300 yards, I just need a little more refinement. I tilt too much with my spine and not enough with the right side of my ribcage on my back swing, she said.
“If we get you to rotate your ribcage over the hip, then it will reduce you from tilting and give you more room for your arms to drop down instead of coming over the top,” Michele told me.
As for my downswing, I need better rotation with my hips to the left side of my body to really take advantage of my power.
“Your pelvis is tilting up,” she said. “That’s the real issue that blocks your arm from releasing. So we need to get your pelvis to stay back more so that you can rotate the hips for your arm to have enough room to release.”
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Michele gave me some exercises to work on my weak points and I’ve been doing them religiously.
And in my next session with Stew, he and I were able to get my distance into the 260s. I hit 262, 265, and 269-yard shots, all with just a 3-wood! I am only 31 yards away from my goal, just in time for the outdoor golf season to kick into gear. And I haven’t touched a driver yet.
Let’s see how all of this work translates to the course.
Mike Arsenault is a digital broadcast journalist and a host of Global News Weekend.
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