12/03/18 - New Start
Finally I’ve hit some real golf balls! Yes, outside and everything!
Has the last 5 months (hasn’t that gone quickly!) of Explanar training been of any use? Read on ...
It’s been many months since my last golf course outing but I’ve finally been able to do it - full match play round at new golf club, then a driving range session with Pro, and a quick front 9 this weekend. Weather has played its part - in the UK we’ve been faced with coursed closures due to snow, then to water-logging, with a good mix of sun and rain in between. Not ideal, but then its still March.
So what’s changed then?
First round - match play against my regular playing partner; new golf club, first time on the course, new swing ... what could go wrong?
Well, as it turns out, not much!
First round was a crushing 2 and 1 win for me, and I also chipped in to take the 18th! My partner shot 5 over (Cat 1); I was giving him 6 shots, and won three clear holes, suggesting 3 under handicap for me with no doubles ... mmmm ... maybe something’s happening? Or was it a one off?
Next was a driving range session with my long term Pro, Matt - crisp, clean irons; long, flighted, soft draw driver; wow! This feels great! Swing feels smooth and repetitive - Two one offs in quick succession?
Then the real test - 9 holes with Mrs G on Saturday; all packed up and psyched up, drove to club, course closed (waterlogged after the snow and rain), drove home, unpacked, cup of tea ... 9 minutes start to finish - “I could get used to this style of golf” announce Mrs G - tough crowd!
Second attempt at 9 holes (well, 8 on the front nine loop since one is still closed for maintenance) with Mrs G the day after; played with couple of members at Stanton on the Wolds GC, even Mrs G commented how friendly everyone was - joined by one of the pros for half the holes. Carried on from where I left off at the driving range - long, smooth driver swing; high soft draw flight; good distance. I felt in control of what I was doing - pick a target, hit it, simples! Irons and wedges exactly the same - excellent distance control and hitting the ball cleanly with no fat shots.
Data? 6 out of 7 fairways, 4 out of 8 GIR - all solid birdie range chances, putting average, played to handicap. Very happy!
That’s now three one offs on the run; I’m starting to believe that this could be the norm for 2018 and that my swing, plane, and rhythm have all changed. The other thing I’ve noticed has been my divots; I used to clip the ball off the turf, sometimes thin, sometimes fat, no real consistency, just a little bruising of the grass. Now I’m taking a good solid, consistent chunk of turf. Hitting the back of the ball; driving through the ball with full follow through; direction of divot aligned with target line; and a good 10-15 yards of divot flight - feels like being on the TV!
It’s been hard work over the last 5 months but I really believe that I’ve got something here thanks to all the support from Explanar and a very dedicated practice routine - I can’t wait for the season to get underway properly. I’ve settled into a realistic weekly practice routine with Explanar and now that I’m only 3 minutes drive from the club then I’ve also got a pre-round routine with Explanar in advance of the first tee.
I’ve attached a video that shows the pre-round routine - only takes a few minutes and covers feel of positions in the backswing, driver swing and plane, iron swing and plane, pitching, and chipping
You’ll see that I’ve added another piece of equipment, Sure-Set - thanks to Explanar for providing this, and Dan Frost for the idea. It’s a simple device that helps lock your wrist hinge and position your hands at various stages of the backswing to add that feel of where you should be at each stage. For me its also added the feel of coil in the backswing and weight transfer in my feet - remember what I said a few blogs ago about feeling the backswing in my right heel and my toes lifting? For the downswing, this then adds the feel of the swing starting from the right heel, the hips creating space and THEN the hands coming through.
Both devices - Explanar and Sure-Set - work hand in hand; the Sure-Set also seems to have created a potential solution to my lack of practice when travelling. It can be dismantled into three pieces that fit nicely into hand luggage and even a briefcase - no excuses now!
So just to wrap up - has Explanar benefited?
To quote Austin Powers, “Yeah baby, yeah!”
Now to get hold of some scores and prizes in 2018!