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The Steve WenPetren Project, Part 2

For those who missed it, check out Part 1 of my series on how to stop being a terrible golfer.

Last week, I showed tremendous consistency in not being able to hit a single ball far or straight, so the good news is, there’s no where else for me to go but up as I prepare for my second lesson with Steve. In between the first two lessons, I did play 18 holes of golf at Reston National, not well, but at least I showed up. More importantly, I spent the week trying to grasp my practice grip (now named “Black Magic”) to the point where it felt comfortable and natural. I’ve already told Steve he’s not getting “Black Magic” back for a while, as I plan on traveling with it and taking pictures with it as we’ve formed a special bond.

I was very eager for lesson #2, as not having ever taken lessons before I was curious to see how the transition would go from what was learned last week into this week. Steve told me to warm up and hit some balls, and then after me taking at least a full minute in between swings, Steve told me that it’s only an hour-long lesson and that I should just hit balls to get loosened up and not as if I was trying to win the Masters on every shot.

So I got loose by hitting everything to the left as usual, which segued nicely into this week’s lesson…

LESSON #2 – Release Some Tension

Uh, what the heck kind of lessons did I sign up for?  I need a better title.  The reasoning behind this lesson is that my overall biggest issue with my golf swing so far is that everything goes left, and the cause of that is my inability to release my hands on my swings, which not only pushes the ball out to the left because my club head is open (remember, I’m a lefty) but also cause extra tension on my right wrist during my follow-thru (or lack there of).

Black Magic strikes again!

Steve had me line up directly across from him, holding my club with the correct grip but keeping the club directly in front of my body and parallel to the ground with the simple purpose of swinging the club back and forth and letting the club do all the work which naturally rolled my hands over on the swing. From there, we brought the club down to just a few inches above the ground and now took my normal swing, which I found hard to release my hands again. Amazing how when you just casually swing the club like a baseball bat, the hands release, but for me that doesn’t translate on my normal swing. We kept swinging until I finally made a conscious effort to roll my hands over on the down swing.

One of the important things to take from today’s lesson according to Steve is that we’re just learning different steps of the swing, that this isn’t the final product. He compared it to how the celebrities need to learn the steps of each dance on Dancing With The Stars before putting the entire routine together. I’d like to go on record and state that if Steve asks me to put on a sequence dress for my final lesson, I’m going to be very angry! Especially if the dress clashes with my brown eyes, um I mean, no dress.

Now the real test, actually trying to hit the ball. 7-iron in my hand. Got my grip right, got my approach right, got my stance right, got my posture right….brought the club back, swing and…..left again. Simple reason, I still wasn’t turning my friggin hands over! So Steve broke it down to me in a way that I understand, pretend that I’m playing softball and trying to pull the ball directly over the first baseman’s head. That made sense, I just needed to go back to my social sports of Bethesda days where we won the league championship after an undefeated season (sorry, off topic, but always fun to be nostalgic). So again with my 7-iron in hand, and grip/approach/stance/posture all set, I took another swing, made contact with the ball, and looked left. Except this time I couldn’t find the ball…because it had gone straight! That’s right folks, at 7:04pm last Thursday night, I hit a ball straight and with some distance (appx. 140 yards).

Steve laughed because my natural tendency was to look left, but then he pointed out something majestic. A small rainbow had actually started to form out into the distance.

Someone in heaven was happy that I finally stopped making a fool of myself...even if only temporary.

I’m not sure the picture will do any justice unless you squint really hard, but believe me it was there and a symbol that no matter how much you suck at something, eventually (hopefully) there’s success waiting for you at the other end. Now unfortunately, that success was short lived as I hit the next ball to the left again, but Steve was determined to rid me of this bad habit and just stressed how if I do nothing else, turn my hands over. So I decided to be really obnoxious with it and basically start turning my hands over as soon as my downswing started, and sure enough, it was working. Balls were starting to go straight, I even hit one over 160 yards in the air, which I didn’t think was possible to go 160 yards in less than 3 swings.

We finished the lesson on a positive note, as Steve proved that I have the ability to hit the ball the correct way and definitely has me anxious to see what’s next to learn. My homework assignment for this week is to go the golf range and hit a bucket of balls. Why couldn’t homework be this easy in real school? And why couldn’t he tell me my homework assignment was to tell Maggie that I had to play golf all weekend long instead of doing chores around the house?

Finally, for beginners out there or those who are a bit rusty or even those who like oddly-produced video clips set to Kenny Loggins music, check out Steve’s first “Tweak of the Week” where he covers essentially the importance of the first lesson with the grip and stance.


The Steve WenPetren Golf Academy is a great place for golfers of all ages and experience (or lack there of) to learn how to become a better golfer. For more information or to book a lesson, please check out www.stevewenpetren.com

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