Hacker Alert: Issue 1

I am pleased to unveil a new series on ZealousGolfer.com: the Hacker Alert. Last year, I took a break from the game for a variety of reasons, logging zero 18 holes rounds in over the course of the season. Nevertheless, I am ready to get back in the swing of things this year. 

In this column, I will track my progress during the next several months, and I will try to detail what I am doing to get my game back in shape. Of course, I would love any suggestions that readers have, and I hope that this journal could help anyone else who has a similar goal. 

When I stopped playing more than a year ago, my handicap was nearly a 13. The goal that I will strive to achieve is to not only return to that point, but hopefully finally knock off the last few strokes and become a 10 handicap player or better. 

Today was my first range session of the season. To get the feel back, I spent most of my time hitting shots using a half swing, and I eventually moved up to a seven iron by the end of the bucket. The temptation to try to rip one with the big dog was overwhelming at times, but I was able to restrain myself for the most part. 

One of the problems I struggled with before was my swing path, as I had a slight loop to the inside before striking the ball. Due to wrist action I guess, I was usually able to maneuver the club face back to nearly square, but I often would hit a slight draw. Bad contact would usually result in a duck hook or a nasty fade, especially when using my driver or three wood. 

Surprisingly, my contact today wasn't bad at all, or at least it was far better than expected. My first 3-5 shots were discouraging when my wedges fired short line drives that caught the glances of nearby golfers. After a couple more swings, I was getting the ball up again. However, I noticed a dramatic drop in distance once I got to the short irons. After checking my hands on the backswing, I observed that I wasn't generating much torque since I was barely turning back. My hands had barely reached shoulder height, and there wasn't much tension. 

When I focused on making a full turn away from the ball, my ball striking improved dramatically. The motion still isn't really engrained in my swing, so more time on the range working to finish the backswing is probably necessary. My right arm (I am right handed) also attempted to separate from my body on the backswing, but the "glove drill", which includes placing a glove in your armpit to ensure that you stay connected, was sufficient to do the job. 

I hope to get out onto the putting green very soon and see where my short game is. More updates will be posted soon. 

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