Tips From The Tour

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Hunter Mahan: Tuck A Glove

What's with the glove?

What's Hunter Mahan's secret to hitting nearly 70 percent of the greens every time he plays? His compact, efficient golf swing. In the sequence above and below, Mahan is practicing hitting a middle iron. If you look closer though, you'll see he has a glove tucked under his right arm. His teacher, Sean Foley, uses this drill often to get players to make a more complete and connected backswing without the arms and club drifting too far away from the body. When that happens, the club can actually get "stuck," as the pros call it, behind the body on the downswing. This leads to pushes, slices and overactive hands to fix the problem. The glove prevents those problems and also helps keep Mahan on perfect plane as he swings back and through the golf ball.

Curious to try this yourself? Go for it. Just start slow with some three-quarter shots and work your way up to some longer swings.

Luke Donald: Hold Your "L"

Luke Donald has one of the most beautiful swings we've ever seen on the PGA Tour. It's so smooth and fluid! But there's actually a lot more than just beauty behind it. Donald is already having an awesome year, with a win and a top spot among several stats, including scoring (69.28), putting average (1.703) and putts per round (27.43, all as of April 2011).

Donald wouldn't have such great success on the greens and in scoring if it weren't for his exceptional ballstriking skills. In the sequence above, there's quite a bit the average player can learn from him.

To start, pay attention to Donald's rhythmic tempo and balance (you'll have to tune in to a TV broadcast to see what we mean). He knows what it means to allow the club to accelerate through the downswing, rather than do what many amateurs do, which is to try to muscle the ball from the top of the backswing. Second, Donald exhibits two positions in his swing that we should all try to emulate. At the top of his backswing, notice how Donald's left arm and clubshaft form an L shape? In the sequence above, Donald holds that L from the top of his swing to a split second before impact. After impact, as soon as the arms reach the point where they're parallel to the ground, the L returns.

Thinking in terms of holding the L is a great reminder to hinge the wrists properly on both the backswing and forwardswing. It also allows the body to rotate through the shot (as evident by Donald's turn and movement to his forward side on the downswing). Furthermore, by thinking of holding the L position and reaching it again after impact, you may find yourself thinking less about hitting the ball and instead swing more freely through the golf shot.


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