One of the great things about the game of golf is that, on occasion, all of us, even the highest handicapper, will hit a shot like a pro. It might be a well-struck drive, hitting a par-5 in two or holing out a bunker shot.
The best players in the world aren’t just fun to watch. There’s a lot to learn about their swings that you can incorporate into your game.
They may not know it, but several of the best golfers in the world are actually darn good instructors. They may not articulate their moves verbally, but in watching them play, there’s a lot that we as wannabe-Tour pros can learn and pick up from their amazing abilities.
Golf instruction usually is loaded with tips on what you need to do to optimize your downswing and impact position. And while that's obviously important, I believe it's just as important to know how to make a proper backswing.
Don’t get us wrong, Anthony Kim still has in our opinion, one of the
most compact and powerful swings on the PGA Tour. As is the case with
this shot, he actually just barely missed green, albeit a long ways to
the right and at the opposite end of the pin which was tucked in the
back left corner.
Why the golf swing is called a “swing” is beyond me. It’s actually more of a turn than a swing, with the body's weight moving sequentially from one side to another via a rotary motion—not a swinging one.
What’s the most hated, feared and downright embarrassing shot in golf? Without a doubt, it’s the dreaded shanked shot.. The shank has no limits, often affecting both great players and novices, with varying degrees of effect.
So much has been written about swing plane over the past few years, that students of mine often come to me very confused about what it is. Simply put, to make an “on-plane” swing, all you have to do is swing the club on the same angle it’s at when it rests on the ground.
How to take your swing from average Joe to touring pro in no time.
When you compare an average golfer (in this case, we’ll called him “JOE”) to a Tour player (let’s call him “PRO”), you notice big differences in each golf swing. For example, the PRO can achieve certain swing positions because he’s more flexible and has stronger golf muscles than JOE. In fact, physical limitations often prevent JOE from reaching the same positions as the PRO, making it critical for him to make certain adjustments to his technique in order to still strike the ball solidly without hurting himself.
It stands to reason that if you want to learn how to do something the right way, you should learn from the best. For this reason, we’ve gathered some shotmaking tips from current PGA Tour players. Pay close attention to the techniques they describe, and practice them regularly, just like they do. Soon enough, you’ll find that these Tour-proven tips will pay dividends in terms of better shots and lower scores. In addition, we offer a swing sequence of Padraig Harrington, arguably the best player in the world at the moment. Check out Padraig’s swing and strive to copy both its simplicity and consistency. You’ll be glad you did.
Players like Charles Howell III, Rory Sabbatini, Jonathan Byrd, even the budding superstar Anthony Kim, all have something in common. Besides obviously being PGA Tour players, they’re all relatively small guys in both size and stature who manage to hit the ball with tremendous power. How do they do it? Each of these players, as well as a handful of other professionals, understands that true power and control come from swinging the golf club with a powerful core.
To execute a wedge shot that hits, takes a hop and stops (or spins back), the first thing you need is the right kind of ball (see the sidebar) and a high-lofted wedge with sharp grooves. Next, you need a good lie from the fairway so the ball compresses against the clubface and the grooves “bite” into it and get it spinning fast.
Simply put, when you address the golf ball—and because the ball is both on the ground and in front of you—you’ll have to lean forward to reach it. To do this effectively, adjust the upper-body lean by hinging at the hip socket, not in the back or by excessively squatting.
I was hitting balls one day with my friend and fellow teaching professional, Ron Gring, when he described a way of looking at all the key shots in golf as “the nine panes of glass.” This obviously refers to the image you see above, with a fade, straight shot and draw at low, medium and high trajectories fitting into the nine slots.
Sergio’s left shoulder points down toward the ground and behind the ball late into the downswing. This serves two purposes: First, the steeper shoulder angle keeps the left arm close to the body and enables him to create his famous “lag.” Second, the closed position of the shoulders prevents the club from coming over the top.
By now, you’ve probably seen footage of Tiger Woods snapping his 4-iron against a tree in the 2007 Masters. If you haven’t, it happened on the 11th hole when he found his ball at the base of a tree. Tiger had three choices: hit it backward or backhanded (two choices that would have probably led to a bogey) or advance it down the fairway. Of course, Tiger chose the latter, but to pull it off, he had to sacrifice his 4-iron.
The best players in the world are as proficient as they are for very good reasons. Not only do they possess an incredibly high level of talent and athletic ability, but they also have sound fundamentals and outstanding overall technique. If you’re going to learn from anyone, these are the guys you want to study.
Swing with a tempo like the pros and you'll learn to make solid contact every time
The main difference between good iron play and poor iron play is quality of contact. Everyone that plays golf knows the difference. We all can hear the difference and we certainly can feel the difference. And while we all know that striking the ball with a descending blow is a must, most of us just can’t get it done consistently.