One of the benefits of working in the golf industry is access to some of the brightest minds in the game. And one area where that benefit is greater than all others is in the instruction space.
Before I started working at GOLF.com over two years ago, I’d never taken a swing lesson in my life. My move was as homegrown as they come, but despite some shortcomings, it was reliable. But once I got my foot in the door in the golf industry — and got access to top-level teaching pros — I knew my swing would soon get some proper tinkering.
My first opportunity to take lessons came last year when we teamed up with GOLFTEC for our Room for Improvement series. And from the moment I stepped in the door for my first session, I knew it would be a fruitful endeavor.
GOLFTEC hooked me up with Nick Schiavo at their Englewood, N.J., location, and we hit it off right from the start. Nick knows the swing well, but he doesn’t get bogged down in technicalities. Best of all, his communication style is perfect for my laid-back personality.
I ended up taking five lessons with Nick, and over the course of those lessons, we focused on two main tweaks to get my swing into proper shape.
Clubhead outside the hands
The biggest flaw in my swing came right as I took the club away. Nick pointed out that I was rolling my hands inside at the takeaway, which threw off every subsequent move. From this position, it was nearly impossible for me to get the shaft on plane.
To fix this problem, Nick had me focus on keeping the clubhead “outside” my hands on the takeaway. What this means is that when the shaft is parallel to the ground, the clubhead should be farther away from my body than my hands when looking at the swing down the line.
When I focused on keeping the clubhead outside the hands, it put me in a better position from the start to make a solid, powerful swing.
Lower hands at the top
The next issue I faced was a result of my severe inside takeaway. After sucking the club inside, I would compensate by lifting the club to the top in an effort to get back on plane. Unfortunately, this move was often overdone and my hands got far too high at the top of the backswing. From this position, I struggled to get the swing on plane and would come into the ball far too steep.
To fix the high hands, Nick suggested I try to mimic the swing of Matt Kuchar.
“See how his hands are low at the top?” he asked me. “I want you to feel like that.”
Now, feel and real are two different things, so while I might have felt like Kuchar, the look was far different. In my mind, I felt like my hands were about even with the center of my back at the top. In reality, my hands were just above my shoulders — a perfect position to properly shallow the club and put a good strike on the ball.
These two tweaks are simple in hindsight, but the results have transformed my game. No longer am I a scramble-for-pars type of player. Thanks to my time at GOLFTEC, I feel like I can fire at flagsticks and hunt for birdies.
My swing may not be homegrown anymore, but thanks to the watchful eye of the pros, it’s better than ever.
You can get 20% off your own lesson at GOLFTEC right here, or below.
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