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keep that left arm straight

Had a bit of lousy sleep overnight. I woke up a little after 1, didn’t fall back asleep until around 2:30, then the rest of the way after that was a series of strange dreams and brief wakeups.

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I had a blackberry smartphone for the last 2 years, but decided it was time for an upgrade. I went with a droid and I’ll tell you this — touch screens kick ass.  I realize that blackberries probably now have touch screens, but anyone who has ever used a trackball for a long period of time will know what I mean about how much it sucked when trying to view webpages.

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Finally, about the thread title.  I used some time off,  5 vacation days after the Labor Day holiday. Weather was really bad Tuesday through Thursday of last week, so that was no good, but the weather was decent enough the last 4 days and  I golfed each day.  For Saturday’s round, I made an adjustment to both my grip and stance. I’ve been looking for a way to cut down if not eliminate a problem I have, that sometimes I will still route the club way to the outside and pull it in — that results in bad yanks to the left, and even worse if I also flip my hands, close the clubface and hook it.

To combat that, I decided to strengthen the left hand in my grip, because doing so seems to put my left wrist in a position where it doesn’t want to flip and release the club. The stance idea I decided on was to open up my stance with all my clubs. Previously, I’ve kept my stance open for wedges, the 8 and 9 irons. 6 and 7 irons would play with a neutral stance, then below that I would begin closing the stance. Closing the stance with longer clubs makes it easier to get extended on the backswing.  Unfortunately for me, it also makes it easier for me to swing over the top. I’ve always fought that tendency and it’s been somewhat worse due to the left shoulder’s problems. Sometimes to protect that left shoulder, I throw the club outside and rotate my body around.  So I figure if I get the body already open, I can prevent that from happening, and I just need to focus on bring the back of the left hand pulling through the ball.

It worked really nice on Saturday. Best day of driving on the year. I kept hitting the ball towards my aiming point and would then see it almost always fade softly to the right. I only had one bad pull on the day, and only one drive that was a bit too much slice to it. Irons on the ground were a bit of a struggle though, I struggled some with too many fat shots. But I was encouraged.

Sunday was a nightmare. I couldn’t hit anything. By accident I hit a few decent shots, but everything else was a mystery.

Monday’s round started off about the same. Just a nightmare of bad ballstriking. Irons, driver, everything, I was rapidly losing confidence that I might ever hit a good shot again. At one point during the first 6 holes, I thought back about a time when I had a huge struggle much like this. Now if I had been really sharp, it would have clicked right then. Instead that thought just festered while I stewed over what was going wrong and I couldn’t figure out, and bad shot after bad shot was taking place.

Then on the 7th tee, where I tried hitting 4 iron because of a tight driving area and not wanting to lose my golf ball, I hit a weak slice that came of the heel of the clubface. I felt like flinging my 4-iron as far as I could, but stuck it in my bag and began walking. When I put the bag on my shoulder, it hit me. My left arm wasn’t staying straight. Due to the open stance, I had begun reaching for more distance on the backswing and my left elbow began flexing. For me, that is deadly.

And the fix was there. Bam, straight left arm, I began making solid contact again.

Now it’ll just be nice for my shoulder to continue improving and for me to get back a full backswing with the open stance.

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