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Winning Swings: See how Rory McIlroy drives it so far



[youtube id=”pQIQAv8E9TE” width=”620″ height=”360″]

Rory McIlroy stands only 5-feet 9-inches tall and weighs a mere 160 pounds, yet he’s able to drive that ball longer than all but a handful of the golfers on the PGA Tour. What’s his secret?

In the video above, I take a look at the moves in McIlroy’s swing that help him hit the ball unbelievably long (and pretty straight, too). I think it’s one of the best swings in professional golf today; good enough that we could be entering the Rory McIlroy era of major championship dominance.

As always, feel free to send a swing video to my Facebook page and I will do my best to give you my feedback.

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Dennis Clark is a PGA Master Professional. Clark has taught the game of golf for more than 30 years to golfers all across the country, and is recognized as one of the leading teachers in the country by all the major golf publications. He is also is a seven-time PGA award winner who has earned the following distinctions: -- Teacher of the Year, Philadelphia Section PGA -- Teacher of the Year, Golfers Journal -- Top Teacher in Pennsylvania, Golf Magazine -- Top Teacher in Mid Atlantic Region, Golf Digest -- Earned PGA Advanced Specialty certification in Teaching/Coaching Golf -- Achieved Master Professional Status (held by less than 2 percent of PGA members) -- PGA Merchandiser of the Year, Tri State Section PGA -- Golf Professional of the Year, Tri State Section PGA -- Presidents Plaque Award for Promotion and Growth of the Game of Golf -- Junior Golf Leader, Tri State section PGA -- Served on Tri State PGA Board of Directors. Clark is also former Director of Golf and Instruction at Nemacolin Woodlands Resort. He now directs his own school, The Dennis Clark Golf Academy at the JW Marriott Marco Island in Naples, Fla.. He can be reached at



  1. TR

    Mar 14, 2015 at 10:39 pm

    No offense, just my opinion but the down the line camera is set up wrong in my opinion. It looks like he’s taking the club back outside because of where the camera is. So his downswing is not correct either because of this.

  2. Mike Gross

    Jul 23, 2014 at 10:31 pm

    The problem people had w Rory changing equipment, it seems to me, had little to do with the quality of Nike equipment, and everything to do with changing all 14 clubs all at once.

    • Dennis Clark

      Jul 23, 2014 at 11:39 pm

      I agree it was shocking. Throughout my playing days, there were certain clubs you couldn’t take from me with a weapon. And there did seem a period of adjustment- not to the brand, as much as the look and feel I suppose.

  3. Kirby

    Jul 23, 2014 at 1:14 pm

    As a gym owner and trainer. I will tell you he is no normal 160 lbs. For an average guy at the gym I would say he is over 200 lbs with the amount of muscle on him. All these golfers are fat, but have less muscle on them hence strength, if that makes any sense to these knuckleheads that are amazed that he hits it that far at that weight. Body fat % you idiots.

    • Dennis Clark

      Jul 23, 2014 at 4:14 pm

      so you attribute his conditioning to his ability to use the ground? When you train golfers do you work on lower body for that purpose?

      • Kirby

        Jul 25, 2014 at 9:41 pm

        I usually work on core, hamstring and glute strength. But most importantly, flexibility relating to the golf swing. I just get irritated with people that see a guy, any guy that size in great shape hit it long when they expect a guy who is 200+ lbs to hit it further when if that bigger guy measured his lbm it would be around the same or less than rory. I do find it refreshing that in recent years, golfers have finally began to realize that their physical condition can help their golf game significantly. Thank you Tiger and the new young guys and originally Gary Player.

    • nikkyd

      Jul 27, 2014 at 6:45 pm

      I was gonna say most golfers are the skinny type. Thats why they have to use their entire body to generate clubhead speed. Stronger guys that actually do real work for a living can generate more with less

  4. joselo

    Jul 22, 2014 at 3:37 pm

    great video, thanks for sharing!

  5. west

    Jul 22, 2014 at 11:35 am

    I still think he uses a non-conforming ball… 😉

  6. Jay

    Jul 22, 2014 at 10:28 am

    Love the analysis – thanks!!

  7. Dennis Clark

    Jul 22, 2014 at 8:55 am

    The thing to note about a video swing analysis is the CAUSE and EFFECT. The effect is fairly obvious, but there is usually, almost always, ONE primary cause. Over the top, under plane, whatever it is, the idea of looking at a swing is to find the CAUSE and correct it! There is no one position that is, in and of itself, right or wrong. It’s how it relates to the OTHER positions. DC

  8. microsoftlogin

    Jul 22, 2014 at 5:47 am

    He couldn’t hold Tiger’s jock at his age, the comparisons are LAUGHABLE, Rory is a STUD, but he will NEVER, never get to Tigers apex, he just won’t. People can hate Tiger ALL they want, the guy CHANGED the sport and was more dominant in “his” time then anyone ever, including Jack. Tiger is the man, and people choose to judge him as if they are his maker, rather than admiring and appreciating what he did for a dying sport when he came in.

    • Fred

      Jul 23, 2014 at 7:19 pm

      Totally agree, micro. Every time Rory or Martin, or Adam, etc., wins a tournament, they’re the next coming of Tiger. At the Open, Kaymer, who blew everyone away at the US Open, played worse than Tiger at Liverpool. Where was Bubba? Today, we have many great players on the tour – Rory, of course, being one of them. The difference between them and Tiger is consistency. None of them wins tournaments on a consistent basis; Usually they win one, then fade away for a while. We see it all too often. Last year, bad back and all, Tiger won more tournaments than many pros win in a lifetime. Each time one of these guys wins a major, he’s the next big thing. We hear that the Tiger era is over, and that Rory’s era is just beginning. People forgery that Rory has been at this game on the pro level for quite some time now. Yet, he’s come no where near what Tiger accomplished at the same age. I wouldn’t look forward to Rory wining the PGA. He might not even finish in the top 10. I’ll put my money on Sergio this time around, with Rickie right behind him.

      • Dennis Clark

        Jul 24, 2014 at 2:50 pm

        Fred, I totally agree. Tiger woods did things for 12-15 years that NOBODY has done or will do IMO. Missing 9 cuts in 18 years is stupid good! My review says nothing about Rory in comparison to Tiger, I said “the best SINCE Tiger” and clearly the best right now. When it’s all said and done TW’s legacy of greatness will his consistency over the prime of his career. As a golf history buff, I personally thing Tiger Woods is the best player ever. Just IMO…

  9. cb

    Jul 21, 2014 at 7:20 pm

    great video dennis, always a fan of your stuff. true its impossible to know what shot he was trying to hit and usually the camera angles arent perfect like they would be in a teachers bay, but you did a great job of identifying the key characteristics of his swing

  10. Bman

    Jul 21, 2014 at 5:18 pm

    I have several videos of Rory on my Data Analyzer software and they show his hands more in or straight back in the beginning with the clubhead on or just slightly outside of his hands. I think the camera angle on your video is way to the left and misleading as to what you are explaining.

    • Dennis Clark

      Jul 21, 2014 at 5:36 pm

      Well..I stood right behind him for two days at Pinehurst and I saw up close and personal what he did without parallax camera issues. And as my eye has been looking at golf swing for some 40 years, I’m pretty aware of what I’m seeing. He sets up left on most shots and swing the golf club along his body line (outside the line of flight). That is also what it appeared he did at the Open. Swings that go out need a loop back in. As a contrast take Matt Kuchar. If he had Rory’s down swing he’d be I serious trouble and we’d never hear of him. Granted camera angles are suggestive at best, and as the one viewer noted we do not know what shots he’s intending to hit. It’s just a 2-D flaw. But the article talks his ground use for power on EVERY swing, and compatible variations. Which most amateurs do not have.

  11. Dennis Clark

    Jul 21, 2014 at 4:41 pm

    True, we cannot know what he was doing with the ball; and we cannot tell real path on 2-D video and we have to allow for parallax issues etc. Video gets a bad rap in the 3-D era but my students love it and learn a LOT from it. The interaction with the ground however does not change. That is a power source regardless of the intended ball flight. Let’s put it this way: WHATEVER shot he hit here, I”LL take it: 🙂

  12. Billy

    Jul 21, 2014 at 4:31 pm

    Good video, Dennis.

    Question, how does he get a good downswing? Does he use the ground as he mentions, starting the hips and lag?

    • Dennis Clark

      Jul 21, 2014 at 4:44 pm

      He initiates his down swing with a good squat. If you were going to jump, you’d squat first. Push into the ground and it starts the kinetic chain needed in very good swing. It starts form the ground and works its way into the golf club. A true chain reaction. Glad you enjoyed it. Thx

      • Billy

        Jul 22, 2014 at 5:14 am

        Dennis, can I send you my swing for you to check out? I don’t have a FaceBook, I can only email you the file, if that works for you?

        If not, it’s ok.


  13. chris liu

    Jul 21, 2014 at 4:13 pm

    no offense, but what i really dislike about these types of videos is the fact that we don’t get information on the type of shot he is trying to hit. Pro golfers rarely hit a “straight” shot, on tour at least. they are almost always working the ball, either fading, drawing, keeping the ball low, getting heigh on the ball etc. So how do we know which type of swing this is. maybe some of the thing we see here are only done due to the type of shot or some of the things are exaggerated due to the shot.

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Tip of the week: How to handle big breaking putts



In this week’s tip, top 100 teacher Tom Stickney shows you how to coordinate line and speed, manage wrist breakdown, and more keys to navigating big breaking putts.

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Brooks Koepka’s grip secret



Here is a great video on understanding what allows a great player to get through the ball and deliver hardcore to his targets. Without this part of his grip, he would be hard-pressed to deliver anything with any kind of smash factor and compression. See what you can learn from his grip.

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Swing speed vs. quality impact



In today’s age of hitting the ball as hard and as far as you can on tour, I am amazed at the number of amateur golfers who totally disregard the idea of quality impact. In fact, you can hit the ball further with better impact than you can with poor impact and more speed (to a point.) Sure, if you can kick the clubhead speed up 10 MPH-plus versus your normal speed, then this is not a requirement, but in reality most players only swing a few MPH faster when they actually try. Yes, this is true, I see it day after day. You might think you can swing 10 MPH faster but rarely do I see more than 2-3 MPH tops.

I had a student that came in the other day and was obsessed with swinging harder but when he did his impacts were terrible! When I put him on Trackman and showed him the data he was astounded that he could swing slower yet produce more distance.

Here was a typical swing he made when swinging faster 105.8 mph where the impact was low on the face and the ball carried 222.3 yards.

Here was a typical swing he made when swinging slower 102.9 mph where the impact was much better on the face and the ball carried 242.7 yards.

Now, obviously we know that this works to a certain degree of swing speed but it does show you that focusing on quality impact is a key as well. I’m always telling my players that I want them to swing as hard and as fast as they can AND maintain quality impact location — if you can do both then you can have it all!

The best way to understand impact quality without dismantling your swing is to use foot spray to coat the face of the club then hit a few balls to see where impact normally occurs and see if you can adjust.

If you can, great, if not, then go see your teaching professional and figure out why so you can find quality impact once and for all!

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19th Hole