Updated: May 11
This one is a bit of a long one that involves some bad luck and some hard work (Not on my behalf).
This story is about Mike. Mike was a serious golfer. He called me up in an inquisitive manner asking about my golf programs. We had a bit of a chat and Mike had informed me that he used to play off quite low figures but had since lost his way. Mike was in search of distance, and I can't blame him.
Mike was a strong guy. He didn't have any physical issues, no injuries and no history of alternative sports issues (bad shoulders, bad knees, etc.). Mike wasn't sure about the whole learn inside a simulator, but was keen to come and have a single lesson so we could assess what we could agree to fix, and to put a program together.
Right on time, Mike showed up for his first lesson. We hopped onto the simulator and turned on the camera. At the outset the swing itself looked pretty tidy. There were no real glaring issues standing out at me. His set up posture were okay and the grip a slight bit weak, but that could easily be changed.
He had informed me that he had bought some new golf clubs and had purchased stronger lofts so that he could get some more distance from his clubs. He had done all of the right things. He had reached out to a fitter and got himself into something that he thought was correct based upon the advice he was given.
As the search for distance was on, the club fitter naturally decided to make the shafts lighter and with more kick point near the club head to launch the ball higher. This would theoretically make the ball flight high and the spin low. That normally translates to more distance. Mike offered this knowledge up and I could see the reasoning; however, I could see that the set up was bad for him and was making him a much worse golfer.
Much worse means that 95% of the strikes were on the heel, and Mike had admitted that recently he was having the shanks. I suspected the clubs were not correct, but decided to address that issue later on down the line. The last thing someone wants to hear after they've bought new clubs is that they are not correctly fit for them and in fact they are so poorly fit that they have destroyed Mike's game and swing. Yes, it happens - I'll tell you how a poorly fit lie angle can severely damage your golf swing.
So Mike's first lesson we addressed the root cause of the shanks. His club path was out to in by 14 degrees and the club face open by about 7 degrees. This resulted in a relatively straight shot (fade bias) but the launch angle was the height of a 52 degree wedge. That meant that there was no energy transfer and that the launch angle killed all distance completely.
Mike was hitting his 6 iron about 140 yards. He knew something was amiss.
I outlined the program and tried to fix Mike's club path so that he would stop cutting across the ball, but I could see that there were major issues with his clubs that would contribute and impede him being able to properly swing it and follow the plan. Both Mike and I agreed to leave it a week, let him practice and then decide if a program was correct to begin.
A few days later we got started on a monthly package. Mike was about to go through a major transformation, but one that had dramatic results.
Now onto a quick point about badly fit clubs. Mike had the incorrect amount of offset on his
clubs which were causing the ball to be mistruck on the face.
His golf shafts were far too light, with the swing weight in the ladies swing weight section. He had complained about not being able to feel the clubhead, and it was due to this overall imbalance between clubhead and shaft/grip combo. Most importantly, his lie angles were very far away from where he needed them to be. His golf clubs were actually 4 degrees upright for him, which means that the surface area which was flat with the ground at impact was about 3 centimeters.
In short, the only place he could hit the ball properly on the clubface was 3 centimeters from the clubface hosel. He had to swing it out to in that much to move the club center to meet the ball. This was not an ideal position to be hitting the ball from, and it was no wonder he had struggled with shanks.
The take home point here is that he had to swing it badly to hit the club, and after time a very bad fit caused his body to start to manifest these changes to get any decent contact or ball flight. He was a very hard worker and very diligent and it was a real shame his clubs were so poorly misfit that it had caused such fear and disdain in his game. He would shank almost every wedge shot, and that isn't because he couldn't swing it properly, it was because the lie angle of a club becomes more pronounced in the more lofted clubs than it does a driver or 2 iron.
This was Mike's Program:
Fix his overly weak grip to fix the clubface being wide open at the top of the back swing
Fix his take away
Increase the amount of weight shift back when he started the swing. (There was no movement)
Increase wrist hinge
Fix/create his kinematic sequence
Increase his attack angle
Teach him how to release the club
Increase his extension
Improved his Tempo
Ensuring a balanced finish
Here's What We Did to His Clubs:
Threw his MCC +4 midsize grips in the garbage. It was recommended to him to help reduce the pulls. The Clubfitter didn't even check the lie angles, just put grips on which made it far harder to release the club and destroyed the swing weight of the club. I.e. It perpetuated the problem
Flattened his Lie Angles on his 6 Iron first by 3 degrees flatter
Added Head Weight to get the swing weight to D2
Shortened the Shaft by 1/2 inch on each club
Bent his Wedges 3 degrees flat
We also changed up his driver shaft to something with much more torque which would suit his tempo
Here's What Happened to His Swing Numbers:
ClubPath in to out by 1.5 degrees
Clubface closed by 0.5 degrees
Launch Angle Down from 33 to 14 degrees for his 6 iron
Starting Angle for the Ball 1 degree right
Ball Speed increase of 15 MPH
6 Iron Distance from 140 to 195 carry
Driver Distance from 210 to 265 Yard Carry
Wedge & Iron Shanks Down to 0
Overall Mike had a dramatic shift in performance. We fixed his swing but realized early on that the clubs were the primary culprit. With properly fit golf clubs and a proper driver shaft, Mike can repeat the proper swing and have the club deliver the results. This builds massive confidence and repeatability. The swing and the club are now in balance. A good swing is rewarded, a bad swing is not. That's how we build consistency.
Wondering about your Clubs & how they're performing for you? Give us a call and book a quick club check & Swing Analysis.
Having a club properly adjusted and fit to your swing (lie angle adjustment) will go a very long way in improving your golf swing. This is a fundamental and if you haven't checked your lie angles, you need to do it as soon as possible.
Don't waste another range session with golf clubs that will ruin your swing. Get checked here & be certain before your swing needs serious work.