22/01/18 - Starting to take shape
It’s been another few weeks of dismal golfing weather in the UK - wind, rain, snow, sleet, and generally very, very cold. The Explanar and indoor putting mat have given me a welcome opportunity to continue training, but I have to say I’m itching to get some proper golf in. Watching tournaments in Abu Dhabi and Hawaii makes indoor training painful; I just want to see the effects of the last two months now!
This hasn’t been helped by my home golf club closing down and leaving: staff without jobs just after Christmas; PGA pros without any teaching facilities; and members without a golf club, playing or practice facilities - many are also owed money by the owners for annual fees and bar accounts. Hopefully everyone will find something and be repaid very soon.
Time for me to recap on a few of my 2018 objectives:
Weight down to 75kg (starts at 80kg)
75,000 steps per week
75 Explanar swings per day
75 putts per day practice
This is going ok so far; weight has been in the 79’s for a week, Explanar and putting is still going although I needed to have a word with myself this week as I’d missed a few sessions for no real reason. Steps have been a little up and down with the weather being the only reason (excuse) - at this time of year there’s usually an easy 18,000 steps to be had each week from the golf course, so now its down to a bit more focus and use the rest of my garage gym. As a start I’ve signed up to our local charity 100 mile bike ride so there’s a bit more of an incentive to keep moving
So what’s really shaping up then? Well two things - my shape, and shaping the ball.
First me - although weight has only reduced slightly, I’m certainly feeling a different shape from all this core and turning work with the weighted roller and medicine balls. I’ve found shoulder muscles that I hadn’t seen since my track cycling days, and a cheeky four pack - result! Don’t just think that the Explanar is a golfing tool; I’m convinced that its useful as a general fitness device as well.
During the season, I regularly used to struggle the afternoon or day after a round of golf all due to a bad back. Any double weekends with rounds on both Saturday and Sunday were a real struggle for me. For the last few months of using Explanar I’ve experienced none of this. Up and out of bed straight onto Explanar with no problem; second session after work and driving similarly no problem. The physiology must be a mix of stronger lats and core helping my back, which in turn is helping my golf posture.
Second, shaping the ball. I’ve tried a few times to use Explanar to give me the feel of a draw and a fade. Both are explained by Luther in his introductory DVD and both are quite straightforward to replicate by a simple movement further around the curved marks on the explanar floor.
Keeping the same ball position, but moving to the right puts the explanar hoop in such a position that I start my backswing short and inside and finish my follow through long and outside - draw set up, in to out, tennis top spin
Moving to the left then gives me a long outside backswing and a short inside follow through - fade set up
It’s amazing that once you’ve felt this then imparting spin to a golf ball feels so straightforward. Yes, I can hear you all saying “well get out on the course and try it for real then!” - I’ll get it sorted and put some videos up in the next month
Attempting to draw and fade has had one downside - there are a few extra black marks on the garage ceiling, and a few black stripes on the underside of the hoop (oops). I think I need to practise slowly first in order to get the feel, then add a bit more rhythm and speed.
Unfortunately, the next couple of weeks is back to back travel for me - Italy and USA. I’m still on the search for a travel explanar and have one pretty good idea that I may be able to share with you. In the meantime, I think that the rest of January and early to mid February will continue with focus on weight loss and general fitness. By the time I get back I hope to have secured membership at a new golf club - I was very impressed with the initial welcome I received when I visited to enquire. Fingers crossed!
For now though, I’ve attached a video of my regular swing (not fade/draw) . I’ve noticed a bit of a lazy habit of not extending the follow through and simply hinging the wrists as soon as I’ve got past the ball - there are a couple of examples in this video; you can tell by the roller not reaching the fin on the follow through. I’ve also noticed that I tend to lift my right toes as I turn and load onto my right heel on the backswing. I hadn’t realised that I was doing this! It reminds me of weight sessions when cycling when I’d do the same when squatting to make sure that the lift was done through my heels and I didn’t fall forward into the lift - old habits! Finally, I’m also starting to get a good hip turn on the downswing - first move is right leg, then left side, then arms start to come through
The photos then show some evidence of using the explanar over the last few months:
- The label showing height settings has suffered some wear and tear as I’ve used short and long rollers in different hoop settings for different “clubs”;
- ... that explains the bits on the floor;
- black marks on the ceiling from too long a follow through; and
- at setting (4) there is only a small window between the fin and the ceiling beam in which to thread the weighted roller - it’s funny that once in the explanar I never really thing about this - one problem I don’t have is coming over the top of the swing plane
As always, I hope that this has been useful to you all. Feel free to ask any questions via the Explanar team. Hopefully some real golf and real evidence of a winter’s training over the next couple of months
22nd January 2018