Looking at this beautiful impact position of Steve Marino, you'd think he possessed a classic swing. Anyone who has seen Marino lashing about the fairways, however, knows that his technique might be a little closer to Bubba Watson or Jim Furyk than Ernie Els!
I'll point out all of the great things Marino is doing here, but if you're a swing junky like me, I encourage you to hop online and do a YouTube search to see him in motion. I've found quite a few great examples, and if you look at the "down-the-line" angles, you'll fully appreciate just how much athleticism Marino exhibits to find this classic look at the bottom.
1) BEHIND THE ACTION Here Marino's head position is in perfect form to hit it a ton. Just like a home-run hitter needs to be "behind the ball" for optimal swat, here he's dead-solid perfect! Whether you prefer to play with a steady head or move off the ball a bit, make sure that, into the strike, the left side of your face stays behind the ball.
2) OPEN FOR BUSINESS One common thing I see every day on the lesson tee is a player who returns to impact with very much the same body alignments he or she held at address. Here you can see the contrast in that attitude, as Marino's hips and shoulders are rotated well to the left at contact. This is the common alignment you'll see in all ball-and-stick sports, such as baseball, tennis and hockey. Think of the similarities in sports you may already excel at and notice how easily they apply to the game of golf.
3) SAFE LANDING One characteristic of great drivers is a sweeping, level angle of attack that leaves the tee standing tall. Most poor drivers attack with too much of a downward strike, snapping their tee as it's pushed into the turf. To feel more sweep, make your practice swings just above ball height, creating a level swish into the finish. After a few successful misses, bend over a touch farther and swing away. Look for that tee to remain safe and sound and you'll be on your way to better tee shots! WHAT'S IN STEVE'S BAG •_•Driver:Cleveland HiBORE XLS Tour 9.5_¡ •_•3-Wood:HiBORE XLS 15_¡ •_•5-Wood:Launcher Comp 19_¡ •_•Hybrid:Adams Idea Pro 20_¡ •_•Irons:4-9 CG Tour •_•PW, SW, LW:CG14 •_•Putter: Never Compromise Gambler •_•Ball: Titleist Pro V1x
4) GROUND ATTACK If you know anything about Steve's swing, you're aware that his backswing is incredibly "steep" at the top. I mean his left arm and shaft are as straight up and down as the Empire State Building! Being "steep" in golf terms means that the club is poised to smash into the turf with a big crashing divot. In order to "shallow-out" his steep swinging action, he must be a master of using his feet to aid his effort. As a result, you'll notice that as he approaches impact, his right heel stays grounded, much more so than the rest of his counterparts. For most players, driving off the back foot is integral to generating compression and distance, but for Marino, hanging back a bit is the perfect complement to his up-and-down action.
Jeff Ritter, PGA, teaches at the ASU Karsten Golf Course in Tempe, Ariz. He recently launched his Jeff Ritter Golf Instructional iPhone App, which is available at the iTunes App Store. Also visit jeffrittergolf.com.