COBRA Golf Get fast Go Low in 2019 – The Lesson

Following a worrying handicap decline, GM editor Mike Harris has embarked on a determined campaign to reverse that trend and see his handicap of 9 edging back down from the brink of double figures. First step was a full COBRA Golf driver-to-wedge custom-fitting with James White, the brand’s expert fitting and training representative, at Silvermere in Surrey in March.

In the firm belief that perfectly fitted clubs alone might not be enough to address all his issues, Mike has also sought out technique and fitness advice from COBRA PUMA Golf’s popular coach, Alex Elliott, who has a following of over 30,000 on YouTube and nearly 50,000 on Instagram.

Mike (left) studies the fitting data with coach Alex Elliott (right) and fitter James White (centre)

In the second instalment of Mike’s COBRA Golf Get Fast, Go Low campaign, Alex addresses the main technique issues that could work in tandem with Mike’s expertly fitted clubs to help pave the way to lower scores…

Alex Elliott’s advice

Posture
I like to think about the foundations first. If you can stand to the ball better, there’s a better chance of a) repeating the swing and b) generating a little more clubhead speed. The first adjustment we made was to Mike’s set-up, which was too much in the heels.

A more balanced position immediately improved his clubhead speed from 84mph to 86mph. There was also a 5mph increase in ball speed just as a result of Mike being able to bring the club back to the ball more consistently.

Mike’s posture was too much on his heels (left) and a more balanced set-up (right) generated 2mph more clubhead speed

Improving posture can have a big effect on ball speed. First, there’s timing – if you’re stood to the ball better, you’ve got the opportunity to sequence the body better in the downswing. And if you look at anyone in the gym – a power lifter, for example – they stand athletically.

In golf, we’re trying to effectively move a heavy weight on the end of a stick at a fast speed consistently, so if we’re stood to it athletically, the body can move the way it wants to. Improving Mike’s posture allowed him to swing it faster.

Backswing
Because Mike’s weight was on his heels, he tended to drag the club away on the inside, so we set about creating more width to increase clubhead speed via length of arc. We worked on taking the club more away from him and less around him to give him a better chance of creating more width at the top.

Alex manouevres Mike’s club further away from him on the takeaway to help create more width

Holding a Theraband beneath his grip and under his left foot really highlighted the difference in resistance between his current move away from the ball and the new one we were working on.

Using a Theraband like this clearly highlighted the difference in resistance between Mike’s old takeaway and the new move

Downswing
Here, we tried to influence path and plane to in turn influence ball flight. Mike was generally starting the ball a little left so we set up a rubber tee a couple of feet in front of him and tried to influence flight by starting the ball right of it rather than left.

Alex got Mike trying to start the ball right of a rubber tee a couple of feet in front of him

He didn’t actually start any right, but he did start it not as far left, which brought him into what I call a ‘manageable area’ that will deliver more consistency on the course. I also suggested working in five-ball sets on the range, using three balls purely to try and groove technique and then two balls to play towards a target.

When practising, Alex advises 5-ball sets – 3 to groove technique and then 2 to try to find your target

Mike’s COBRA Golf Get Fast Go Low progress report
My lesson with Alex was fantastic. He picked up some interesting things about my swing, particularly with my set-up. The exercise with the Theraband was fascinating as it highlighted the difference in resistance between my old and new takeaway moves. I now have my own and am doing a lot of dynamic stretching pre-round, which is helping with flexibility and speed.

Mike in action during his full driver-to-wedge COBRA Golf fitting in March

The swing path drills have got me hitting a draw a lot of the time rather than a weak cut. My handicap is still on 9 but my game is moving in the right direction and I did manage a 0.4 cut at St Andrews, which could have been much bigger but for back-to-back sevens on 13 and 14 as I was only one-over after 12. I also came a close 2nd on my annual golf tour to GM colleague, Fergus Bisset, and have plenty of competitions coming up so more chances for progress.

I’m hitting the ball well from tee to green – my COBRA King F9 driver is superb and I’m getting on well with my graphite-shafted One-Length King Forged Tec Black irons.

My big problem remains my short game with the COBRA Connect data highlighting a 14% up-and-down success rate and a very poor chipping handicap of 20.7.

* Check back again in a couple of months for a report on Mike’s fitness session with Alex Elliott and a further progress update

Mike was fitted for…
Driver: COBRA King F9 Yellow, 9˚ (set to +1), 45.5in, Project X HZRDUS Smoke 6.0 60 shaft
Fairway wood: COBRA King F9 Yellow 3-4 (set to -1), 43in, Project X HZRDUS Red 6.0 75 shaft

Mike was fitted for both the fairway wood and driver in COBRA Golf’s King F9 Speedback

Utility irons: COBRA King Black Utility 2-3 and 3-4 set to 18˚ and 21.5, Recoil F4 Smacwrap stiff flex graphite shafts
Irons 5-PW: COBRA King Forged Tec Black One-Length, 1˚ flat, -¼in, Recoil F4 Smacwrap stiff flex graphite shafts
Wedges: COBRA King Black Versatile Grind 50˚, 54˚ & 58˚, 1˚ flat, variable length KBS C-Taper Lite stiff flex 110 Shafts
All clubs: Lamkin Rel Black Connect Grip