New swing + muscle memory = Amazing!

New swing + muscle memory = Amazing

I went to hit some balls today and test out this muscle memory business. It’s been over two weeks since I gave myself a twisted ankle so I’ve not been able to hit a ball in over two weeks. I wasn’t expecting much more than a few shanks, a few duffs and a few half decent shots thrown in for good measure.

How wrong I was. Turns out, my golf game might actually be getting better! I’ll be honest; I was as shocked as the guys collecting the balls in the range. But I hit a basket of 80 balls and they were all ok. At least 50% of them were good. Not only that…but my twisted ankle held up, which was a huge relief.

What made this all the more satisfying was my swing. Now, let’s not get ahead of ourselves here, we still have an awful lot of work to do. However, my swing felt solid. It also felt repeatable. My connection with the ball felt and sounded solid and the ball flight was lovely and high. The majority also went arrow straight or with a slight right to left curvature.

What this really proved to me was that after getting the correct positions through the backswing nailed with Ryan, muscle memory (or motor skills as clever people call them!) has been crucial. This is something Ryan has talked about a lot. Subsequently, I’ve spent quite a lot of time at home swinging my trusty old wedge in front of a mirror whilst trying to establish this new backswing. When I say a lot of time, I mean 20 swings here, 20 there. Just enough to help it feel more natural. It seems to have worked. I now totally buy into the theory that the practice you do without the ball is just as important.

For me, being able to hit a ball that well after not hitting one for over two weeks felt amazing. Without the swinging of the wedge during breaks between stirring the Bolognese, running the bath and even feeding the kids, this would not have been possible. I salute you muscles with memories.

Now…all that’s left to do is spend the next 6 weeks sorting out the downswing.  Oh, then short game. Then putting. Remember, it’s a marathon not a sprint to improve your golf handicap!

There’s a great article here about muscle memory (or motor skills) and the golf swing by the really clever people at SAME (Specific Athletic Movement Emulators).