Sweetspot: Luke Donald
Get your irons in check by observing one of the best ballstrikers in golf
Since his early days playing for England on two Walker Cup teams and making noise as an NCAA star at Northwestern, Luke Donald has had PGA Tour success in his sights. Having already cracked the top-60 in career earnings with more than $12 million to his credit, you’d have to say he’s right on track. In 2008, Donald has continued his consistent play, and as of April 1st, he managed to notch four top-25 finishes, including a second-place finish at the Honda Classic. What’s the key to his success? The simple answer is sound fundamentals, a solid, rhythmic swing and a fantastic putting touch. Here, you’ll notice he’s using a weight on the clubshaft—this helps him further ingrain his smooth rhythm.
Donald’s left arm hangs nearly perpendicular to the ground. This is the product of quiet hips and serves to minimize the amount of hand action required during impact. If the left arm is allowed to push out away from the body, the clubface opens more and needs manipulation to get back to square.
Hips On Hold
The key to Donald’s control is in his hips. While they begin to open before impact like all great ballstrikers, they do so with a subdued and delayed action that serves two specific purposes. First, the lack of early hip rotation allows the arms to remain close to the body. Second, any excessive upper-body tilt created from overly active hips is eliminated.
Right At It
Donald’s great body position keeps his arms close and allows his right arm to point directly at the ball. This is on plane! As a result, his hands will be lower at impact than most Tour players, helping him to better control the trajectory of his iron shots.
Approaching impact, Donald’s hands are in their proper position, with the left wrist flat and the right wrist bent back. This is different from their alignment at address, with the left wrist bent and the right wrist flat, and is a change all great ballstrikers achieve, further proof that impact and address aren’t the same.
Right Heel Down
That his right heel remains grounded late in the downswing is another benefit of Donald’s quiet hips. It allows his feet, knees and hips to remain directly under his torso, creating a truly “stacked” impact position that maximizes compression and consistency.
Facing The Ball
With the club tracking precisely on plane approaching impact, there’s no need to make adjustments to the clubface. The toe of the club will overtake the heel and need no extra manipulation from the hands to become square. This is a critical element to creating crisp iron shots.
Luke Donald plays Mizuno forged irons for what many would agree is the ultimate in feel and control. The MP-57 is the latest in the line. www.mizunousa.com