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The Steve WenPetren Project, Part 5

For those who missed it, check out Part 1, Part 2, Part 3 and Part 4 of my series on how to stop being a terrible golfer.

As we reach the halfway point of my lessons, I think there’s two essential things that I’ve taken from this whole process.  First and most important, is my new-found love of this game.  Prior to my lessons with Steve, golf was an expensive recreational activity that I played sparingly whenever I had some free time and the weather was nice.  But now, my mentality is to get out whenever possible, wherever possible, for however much possible, and in whatever weather conditions.  I’m proud to call myself, at the very least, a weekend golfer now (and the occasional mid-week golfer).

The second essential thing I’ve noticed is how I can actually (finally) become frustrated with this game.  Again, prior to lessons, golf was purely recreational and I was just happy to be swinging a club as opposed to doing yard work or sitting through some terrible chick flick (ok, who am I kidding, I love terrible chick flicks).   Now though I actually have some sort of expectation when at the driving range or on the course.  It’s no longer only about “just happy to be here” syndrome, now it’s about that AND trying to improve on every swing.  Interesting dilemma, curious to see how my mental approach to the game progresses, but just in case, I have a slew of f-, s- and c- words in my arsenal waiting to be yelled.

LESSON #5 – HIPS DON’T LIE

That’s right, Steve brought in Shakira for this lesson.  Sadly no, but in honor of my going through the sand trap lesson the previous week, it was only fitting that his good friend (and one of the owner’s of our fantasy football league), Robin Beach showed up.  Get it?  Sand. Beach.  I’m sure there’s also a joke in there that Steve is Batman, but it’s getting dark and I want to get out to the range tonight.

I'd play golf with Shakira whenever wherever.

Now that I’ve got the basics down, stance/posture/approach/hands/follow-thru/swearing/etc., it was time to start adding additional elements of the swing, with the first being my hips.  Simply put, my ball-striking may be improving, but for greater improvement and distance, it was time for me to start turning my hips in my swing, which apparently I didn’t notice I wasn’t doing, b/c I was just happy to hit the ball previously.

Like in most previous lessons with Steve, I needed to take practice swings before even lining up a ball.  Practice made me look like a fool, seriously.  Steve told me to turn my hips while keeping my back leg planted on the backswing and then turn my hips all the way thru so that I’m facing and parallel to the target on the follow-thru while my back foot should be up on my toe and my knee should lock on my front leg.  First couple of times swinging, I looked less like Shakira and more like Elaine from Seinfeld trying to dance.

To make matters worse (actually not really, found it amusing), Robin and Steve were like a peanut gallery for each of my terrible swings.  They weren’t so much commenting on my swing, as they were my wardrobe.  Valuable lesson learned, if you’re wearing black golf shorts and black golf shoes…invest in black golf socks.  Apparently, my white socks were a fashion crime.

But back to the turning of the hips, I started to catch on to it after a while and even hit a few balls decently, except that in the process I either wasn’t able to keep my head behind the ball or I wasn’t turning my hands over again.  This really is a frustrating game!  The head behind the ball issue Steve was able to address by taking a long plastic stick and holding it about 2 inches in front of my head, and instructed me NOT to touch the stick with my head on my swing.  Apparently I was doing more of a sweeping lunge forward on contact with the ball as opposed to just keeping my head still and behind the ball.  So after getting whacked a few times with the stick, I think I got the point and really focused on making sure I kept my head where it should and shouldn’t be (how about that, golf is like marriage!)

I think Steve is the one on the left.

It’s still a work in progress, and I spent a few days at the range since the lesson solely focusing on the hips and my head placement, but also getting frustrated with myself as I’m not grasping it.  I need to remember that five weeks ago I couldn’t even hold a club properly, so patience needs to be exercised throughout all of this.  Hopefully it will all come together in the long run, and if it doesn’t, well, at least I bought black socks today.


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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