COBRA Golf Get Fast Go Low in 2019 – The Lesson

GM editor Mike Harris turns to coach Alex Elliott for technique advice and reports back on progress so far in his 2019 COBRA Golf Get Fast Go Low campaign

(Image credit: Tom Miles)

GM editor Mike Harris turns to coach Alex Elliott for technique advice and reports back on progress so far in his 2019 COBRA Golf Get Fast Go Low campaign

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

Jeremy Ellwood
Contributing Editor

Jeremy Ellwood has worked in the golf industry since 1993 and for Golf Monthly since 2002 when he started out as equipment editor. He is now a freelance journalist writing mainly for Golf Monthly across the whole spectrum from courses and Rules to equipment and instruction. He also edits The Golf Club Secretary Newsletter, a highly regarded trade publication for golf club secretaries and managers, and has authored or co-authored three books and written for a number of national papers including The Telegraph and The Independent. He is a senior panelist for Golf Monthly's Top 100 UK & Ireland Course Rankings and has played all of the Top 100 plus 91 of the Next 100, making him well-qualified when it comes to assessing and comparing our premier golf courses. He has now played well over 950 golf courses worldwide in 35 countries, right across the spectrum from the humblest of nine-holers in the Scottish Highlands to the very grandest of international golf resorts, but put him on a links course anywhere and he will be blissfully content.

Jezz can be contacted via Twitter - @JezzEllwoodGolf

Jeremy is currently playing...

Driver: Ping G425 LST 10.5˚ (draw setting), Mitsubishi Tensei AV Orange 55 S shaft

3 wood: Ping G425 Max 15˚ (set to flat +1), Mitsubishi Tensei AV Orange 65 S shaft

Hybrid: Ping G425 17˚, Mitsubishi Tensei CK Pro Orange 80 S shaft

Irons 3-PW: Ping i525, True Temper Dynamic Gold 105 R300 shafts

Wedges: Ping Glide 4.0 50˚ and 54˚, 12˚ bounce, True Temper Dynamic Gold 105 R300 shafts

Putter: Ping Fetch 2021 model, 33in shaft (set flat 2)

Ball: Varies but mostly now TaylorMade Tour Response