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Rory Sabbatini: Head Behind The Ball

The aggressive, brash and exciting Rory Sabbatini seems to have bounced back en route to winning the Honda Classic this year. Sabbatini's golf swing has never looked better, and when he's playing well, he's easily among the toughest competitors to beat on the PGA Tour.

At 35-years-old, Sabbatini has a swing that reflects the motion more associated with classic swings of the '60s, '70s and '80s. His big backswing and wrist hinge is supplanted by a fast unhinging of the wrists and a reverse-C followthrough.

What can you learn from Sabbatini? Check out the photo of him just before and at impact. There are two things going on here that you can emulate. First, notice the amount of hinge in Sabbatini's wrist before he makes impact. This is what's referred to as "lag" in the swing. More lag tends to mean the hands will release the club really quick and with a lot of clubhead speed. Second, check out Sabbatini's head position throughout his swing. Not only does it stay stable, but you can clearly see that his head is behind the ball at impact. Upon closer inspection, you can see that his head actually swivels and turns as his upper body does during the swing. By doing this, Sabbatini can swing more successfully with his arms in front of his chest. If he were to keep his head "down" as some mistakenly say you should, he'd restrict his rotation on the downswing and would not be able to extend as well as he does through the shot. David Duval and Annika Sorenstam do this too, even more than Sabbatini is demonstrating here.

Better players often will tell you that the key to hitting better shots is to think of one good element of the swing and try to perfect it. Try keeping your head stable and allowing it to rotate with the upper body. It works!

Zach Allen, PGA, teaches players of all levels at DeBell Golf Club in Burbank, Calif. For more information, visit


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