26/11/17 If only Explanar made a travel version!
Its been nearly 3 weeks since my last blog and a more inconsistent time regarding the use of Explanar - not for the want of trying! Sitting on a balcony overlooking Yas Links Golf Course and the Abu Dhabi F1 track feels like the perfect writing setting!
4 days away at the Track World Cup Cycling in Manchester; a business trip to Scotland; and this holiday in UAE have meant that I’ve missed several swing sessions and also missed that all important putting practice. However, what I did notice before this long haul trip was that on each of the days that I left home to travel, and on each of the evenings that I got back, I made a point of 15 minutes’ practice - putting mat then Explanar; its amazing how simple a habit this 15 minutes has become!
Under a more traditional driving range based practice regime, there is no chance that I would have been able to fit in a 90 minute round trip to the range before or after travel; Explanar has really embedded a simple and effective routine and a renewed mental approach to practice - can I really not find 15 minutes?
So despite several missed days, my new Explanar swing has not deserted me. Back on the Explanar I quickly settled into the on-plane half swing that I’ve worked on for the last 5 weeks. No clunks into the Explanar fin; no spinning sound from the roller missing the fin; smooth wide stretching takeaway, effortless forearm roll, and positive wrist hinge - all feels good; all feels natural. I now “look” for that extended soft stretch of my lats as I take the club away on the backswing; this feels like my first swing thought or check position - get that right and I know that the rest is going to follow.
The only thing that had been in my mind now was that - as I explained in my last blog - I was at the limit of use of the long roller. Having aligned the roller shaft angle with my natural driver angle I was now holding the roller at the very bottom of the grip. This meant that I had nowhere to go (no further gripping down) if I wanted to practice a steeper plane for a shorter club - time to have a chat with Matt and Luther at Explanar
A few days later a package arrived - the Explanar short roller! It’s obviously shorter than the long roller, but despite first impressions its not hugely different in weight - I reckon 1.6kg for the short roller vs 1.7kg for the long roller. Materials feel a little different, rolling feels a little smoother and more silent - just need to find another surplus umbrella sleeve in which to store it!
This now starts to bring the Explanar into its own as a multi-club trainer
My driver stance is at the top end of the short roller grip (normal driver grip position) and at a setting of +1 on the Explanar unit. This feels like I’m holding my regular club. I do, however, now have two possible driver positions for practice/training - one with the short, one with the long roller. For now, I’m not sure how much I could benefit from using a slightly heavier roller for strength training maybe? I’ll let you know over the weeks
Lifting the Explanar up through +2, +3, +4 settings, gripping down and moving closer to the hoop allows me to go through a range of different club planes. The steepest setting on the Explanar is restricted due to height space in my garage but I now feel like I’ve got a training aid that I can flex to whichever “club” I want to practice - certainly between driver and 6 iron.
I played golf just before my holiday in a 3 ball scramble. Although it was difficult to assess fully my own process performance, and how my recent practice translated onto the course, I managed to get a few statistics. Fairways 8/14, greens from the chosen drive 9/18 (not necessarily GIR), 22 putts for the team! It’s amazing how a few winter green nil putts from 15 feet help your stats!
These numbers added to a few “feel” performance stats:
- I felt much more comfortable at address
- I felt much more confident with what my new swing was going to do
- Drives were straight with a slight tendency to the right - must check alignment
- Approach irons were straight, with crisp solid ball striking
All starting to feel very nice! Maybe missing some practice with real golf balls?
On the plane (sorry!) over here I started thinking about different Explanar hoop angles for different clubs - should I practice with 4 or 5 different settings? Should I just keep one setting and simply apply that plane to every club by standing/bending steeper/flatter? Loads to think about - maybe getting to the time where I need a little expert help from the Explanar team
In the meantime, its race day at F1 Abu Dhabi; can’t wait to get back onto my Explanar for the next phase of practice before Christmas. There’s an outside chance of finding an Explanar in Dubai, but otherwise the journey home will be spent trying to work out how to develop/find a travel version of an Explanar for my next trip!