So the first month of my Break 80 Challenge is in the books and I am excited to analyze the results. The first month was focused on improving my iron accuracy and developing a “Go To Shot”. I used 4 swing drills, one each week. I was hoping that the “Go To Shot” would produce a nice controlled draw which starts right of the target and curves back to the middle. In order to do this, I would need to have an inside out swing path combined with open clubface of 2 degrees. This shot would give me the advantage of a consistent way to hit more greens in regulation (which is a key to breaking 80).
Pre-Test (Finding a Baseline)
I first did a 200 shot Pre-Test to see what my swing was BEFORE I began practicing. The results would be my baseline stats for the Challenge. Club/GoalWhite (15 ft)/Green (35 ft)Swing PathSwing SpeedClubface Angle All Par 3's (70%)36/54 GIR (66%) 9 Iron (90%)18/13 (62%)Slight Outside/In65Square 7 Iron (70%) Hybrid/4 Iron (40%)10/16 (52%)Slight Outside/In76Closed .04
Drill and Practice
Next, I completed 4 drills devoted to improving my swing:
Slap Hand Drill (consistent release)
2 Tee Drill (solid contact)
Left Wrist Drill (improved swing path)
1 Arm Drill (more Inside out path)
After each of the swing drills, I hit 25 balls with my 9 iron and my 4 iron and tracked my progress. I was hoping to see some improvement as I did each drill.
Post Test & Comparison
Lastly, I wanted to re-test my swing and compare the results to the baseline stats in the Pre-Test. Below is my analysis and comparison of the Pre and Post Tests.
Swing Drills Analysis
Platform: Optishot golf simulator driving range
Clubs: 9 Iron, 7 Iron, 4 iron
Target: 122 yards, 143 yard, 165 & 177 yards
Shots Hit: 50 each club
Post Test Stats
Overall Club/Goal (50 Shots Each)White (15 ft)/Green (35 ft) Swing PathSwing SpeedClubface Angle All Par 3's (70%)35/54 GIR (64%) 9 Iron (90%)20/13 (66%)Slight Inside/Out66Closed 1.5 7 Iron (70%)8/24 (62%)Slight Inside/Out70Closed 3.8 Hybrid/4 Iron (40%)14/20 (68%)Slight Inside/Out75Closed 1.2
9 Iron and 4 Iron Only Total ShotsWhite (15 ft)/Green (35 ft)Swing PathSwing SpeedClubface Angle 50 (9 Iron)20/13Slight Inside/Out66Closed 1.5 50 (4 Iron)14/20Slight Inside/Out75Closed 1.2 ClubTotal Inside/Out 3.95Total Outside/In -3.95Clubface To Path Closed 0.0 to 2.0 w/3.95 9 Iron28611 4 Iron1226
I was happy to see that my swing path has moved from “Outside-In to Inside-out” over the course of the month. My focus has been trying to get a more consistent inside-out swing and it seems I was somewhat effective. Most of my swings were “Straight” though and I only had a true 3.95 degree inside swing 40% of the time. The best part was that I had ONLY had 8 total swings that were coming from the outside. This is great news and will shows great consistency in my swing path. The swing drills definitely helped.
My 9 Iron started out very disappointing. I had an outside path on 4 of my first 10 shots. I was shocked and had to take a quick break and go back to my swing thought of “right pocket, right shoulder”. This got my club back on the right inside path and I only had 2 outside swings from then on out. I feel that if I was able to get off to a better start the numbers would have been much better.
My 4 iron was mostly on a straight path as I had only 12 shots that were perfectly inside-out. The best stat for my 4 iron was that I had ONLY 2 shots that came from an outside-in path. This is awesome because it really does show consistency and great improvement over the Pre-Test.
My clubface has been very consistent. After doing the swing drills, I have developed a clubface angle that is closed between 0.0 and 3.0 degrees. My average is a clubface angle that is closed 1.2 and 1.5 with my two irons. I am going to need to improve this at some point and get it more square at impact if I am truly going to break 80 but for now I love the consistency. Furthermore, it is imperative that I get an inside-out path to control any closed clubface issues. One thing for sure is that it will now be easier for me to play a controlled fade if I want as I know how to get my club outside in and closed.
With a closed face, I will need to aim slightly to the right of the green and keep the face closed slightly to be successful. I was very happy to see that my 4 iron and 9 iron were both at the same degree closed. This makes aiming much easier. Overall, I am going to spend a little extra time getting my swing path correct and work on squaring my clubface later.
Out of 100 shots that I took in the Post Test, 34% went inside 15 feet and 67% of my shots were inside 30 feet. This is an improvement over the Pre-Test where I was able to hit the 15 foot white zone only 28% of the time and the green 30 foot zone 57%. I will take a 10% improvement in accuracy any day.
After the poor start I got back in the groove and was able to hit 20 white zone shots (inside 15 ft) compared to only 18 in the Pre-Test. In addition, I hit the green (within 30 ft) a total of 66% of the time, a slight improvement.
The amazing thing about my 4 iron accuracy was that I hit the 30 foot zone as much as I did with my 9 iron. Maybe it is a sign about my 9 iron but I feel it is a positive. Furthermore, my 4 iron improved in all categories. Exciting!
I really wasn’t focused on swing speed this past month. I will work on that later but it is important to see that my swing speed does NOT decline. Overall, It was about the same which is good. My 9 iron speed was up 1 mph but my tempo also was faster at .9 seconds. I will look more at swing speed when I work on swing drills focused on distance.
I saw some major improvements over the course of the past month after completing the swing drills. My path moved inside-out, I saw my accuracy increase and my clubface angle became consistent. I still need to work on my swing path and getting my clubface square. Over the next few weeks, I am going to focus on my swing path as that is going to be important with my newly closed clubface. I am very pleased so far.
Check out some of the other drills I will using in my Break 80 Challenge HERE.