Worst part about living in the Northeast – my golf season is at best 7 months long. For a golf junkie that’s a tough pill to swallow, having to shut it down through the winter months. Sure I could get all bundled up, get the hand warmers and hit the rock hard links (absent of snow of course), chasing the ball all over. But I choose not to. I’m a warm weather player. Who isn’t? Every year it’s the same old story, I play my best golf towards the end of the season and then shut it down and start all over again “ice cold”, with no swing 4-5 months later. It’s never easy. Not this year. This year I’m going back to school, Golf School, all winter. My classroom is the Harmon Club in Rockland, and my teaching pro is TJ Valentine.
I first met TJ and began working with him about ten years ago and have been seeing him off and on ever since. One of the nicest guys you will ever meet on or off the golf course. TJ has even worked with my son Joe and my wife Laura a little over the past few years. My mission with TJ is simply to get back to the basics. Good setup, posture, tighten up the swing and try with all my might to flatten it out a bit, a swing killer I’ve been fighting for years. My swing is never in its “best” form at the beginning of each golf season due to lack of play. Duh! However with this trip being at the beginning of the season I want to put in the work now to be ready for June. Take my “best” swing with me to Scotland. So it’s off to the range. School is in session.
My first session with TJ was this past Saturday and clearly I needed it. As you can see here from not having swung a club in almost 2 ½ months, bad habits rule the day. My posture in the image on the right is pathetic. Hands and arms too close to my body, head tucked down, and back not straight. There is NO way I’m making a good swing here. Worst part is the swing gets very upright, long and loopy from here, resulting in some very poor ball striking. This is what happens when I get away from playing for a long period of time, and it’s not acceptable. Couple of adjustments, some setup keys and viola – the image on the left shows how I should ALWAYS be setting up to the ball. Nice extension, head up and room to make a better swing. A setup like that will surely help me to promote a flatter swing plane. That’s the next session goal, work on the swing plane. It’s a work in progress. I have homework to do in the meantime.