FINDING THE FULL SWING
For the remainder of the first session and throughout the second, we concentrated on marrying club path and efficient build-up of speed into that sparkling package of effortless power that’s in full display at every PGA and LPGA Tour event, or among our single-digit-handicap buddies.
First Reinmuth directed me to intentionally execute a variety of bad moves with the Swing Coach — casting from the top, exaggerating out-to-in and in-to-out downswings — simply to show how the ball reacts.
“If you accelerate a little early [casting],” the ball should come down at your feet or low and a little to the right.”
Why? “If you accelerate early, the ball comes out at your feet, which means you’ve dissipated the speed, and it wasn’t at the bottom of the arc — which is what makes your swing efficient.”
“Now make an outside-in swing, release and let the speed go. The ball goes well left.”
Reinmuth explains. “Swing Coach can’t slice the ball; it can just tell you the path direction. So if you’re going outside-in, and the speed is late or across the bottom of the arc, the ball will go left.
“Now accelerate a little late. It should go left and high.”
The reason? “Your body starts to open up, your club gets too far behind your ribcage and your right arm. You’re not parallel to the target line once you’re accelerating.”
“Now go inside-out a lot. The ball goes way right.”
The upshot of all these bad moves? “[Swing Coach] is starting to teach you the proper entry path [into the contact zone],” Reinmuth continued. “That’s how you can tell that you are keeping good rhythm, and the energy is being dispersed at impact, which makes your swing the most efficient. That starts to teach you rhythm as opposed to trying to think about rhythm. It teaches entry direction, smooth acceleration instead of surging acceleration.”
He asked me to take a swing at close to regular speed, still with the spacer in place. “Then accelerate a little later in the swing, but smoothly.”
Wow — straight and strong.
I experimented with this feeling of relaxed, efficient “gathering” speed for several more swings. If I tried to force that speed, the poor ball direction and other maladies returned — including an unbalanced finish with the club pointing more sideways than downward, which denotes a fully spent and therefore far more powerful move through the ball.
Another analogy: “It’s like shifting gears in a car. If you get the RPM too high too early, the car downshifts. If it’s not high enough, it chokes. Pretty soon you can hear the rev of the engine to know when to shift, not now fast you have to go. That’s what this teaches you; it’s more subliminal. We get you dialed in to you, and your swing, and how it has to function, rather than the body positions and things like that.”