Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Brush the Grass - Brilliant

A few years ago I traveled to Milwaukee CC and spent a day observing Manuel de la Torre teach followed by a lesson for me personally. My ball flight had been erratic with a few shots thin and chunked.

Watching him is extraordinary. The language, simple concepts and results produced by his students are a joy to watch.

When you are the student however the simple approach to improvement can be startling. For some reason most students expect more complexity (myself included).

All those miles, air fare, hotel room and 30+ years of playing experience and my lesson centered upon one phrase "brush the grass ahead of the ball and let your right heel come up."

It seemed way to simple. Yet, it was brilliance.

Consider all this sentence achieved. He put my focus on the club brushing the grass in a forward movement, my mind and eye were placed ahead of the ball and he synchronized my entire body to the swing by allowing my heel to come up on the forward swing.
  • Brushing is a great verb. It gives the proper direction for the club to swing - forward. The loft is exposed to the ball correctly and solid shots result. Compare brush to "hit down" for the dramatic difference verbs can create in motion.
  • My mind and eyes on the grass ahead of the ball changed where my intent was focused. My intent was ahead, not on the ball. Thus, I was less inclined to interrupt the motion of a good swing and the solid strike it would create.
  • In allowing my heel to come up, my entire body responded correctly to the motion of the club. All at the right time and rate. It also eliminated the use of my shoulders (over the top) that occurred when I kept my heel planted through the forward swing.
Note, there was nothing instructed that I could over do. The more I did it the better the result. The remedy would not become the ailment after this lesson.

All those things basically tied to one verb and phrase "brush the grass". I didn't realize how much my swing had been corrected. Even better, it applied to every shot tee to green.

I repeat, brilliance. With simple and wise language he was able to make multiple and complex corrections for me with one sentence.

Please experiment with this verb and phrase in your game. Especially around the green chipping and pitching. It is simple and effective.

~ Rodd