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Video: Hudson Swafford’s drill to hit more fairways

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This story was selected as one of the 15 best GolfWRX stories of 2015!

The way I teach a golf lesson has changed a lot in the past few years. For 10 or more years, I had the same cameras and computers in my academy. Then, I got my first TrackMan in 2012 and ever since I’ve added more and more technology to help me find whatever small thing will help my clients play a little better.

I’ve got a SwingCatalyst and BodiTrak to check how players use the ground, a K-Vest to see how they transfer energy from one segment to another, SAM PuttLab and a Quintic system to see how the putter moves and the ball rolls. I’m lucky enough to help some really good PGA Tour players with their games. It’s nice to have all these fancy tools to find that “needle in a haystack” that can be the difference between a player missing a cut and contending on Sunday.

That being said, I still use old-school video more than anything. It’s easier for a player to understand their swing by looking at an image of themselves instead of looking at a number from one of my tools. I even like for my players to use video on their own. The cameras on today’s phones are so good that I can give my players check points to use during off weeks so they can check their swings themselves. Of course, it’s easy for them to send me a video for a second opinion, too.

The guy in this video, Hudson Swafford, came to me in the middle of the 2014-15 PGA Tour season. He had a hot start to his year with finishes of 8th, 18th and 12th in his first three events. After that, he began to drive the ball a little erratically and missed the cut in eight of his next 13 events. We started working together at the Zurich Classic in New Orleans. We were able to right the ship and Hudson made 10 of his last 14 cuts to finish 81st on the money list.

To straighten out his tee shots, we started with a simple check point of getting the club shaft pointed parallel to the target line at the top of the swing. With the club laid off and pointing to the left of the target at the top, Hudson had to make some complex moves with his arms and body to get the club head traveling in the right direction to hit the “bomb fade” he likes so much.

If I’m not there to check it for him, all he has to do is put his phone in the right place (as described at the end of the video), hit record and look for his club head to appear “in the window” between his forearms at the top of his swing. If he sees that he knows he’s on the right track.

The author, Scott Hamilton has created a four-lesson video course with his keys to achieving consistent, solid contact. The Solid Contact Series is available for free on his website OnTourGolf.com.  

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Currently teaching 14 PGA Tour players, Scott Hamilton is a staple on the PGA Tour range each week. In 2015, a poll of PGA Tour players conducted by Golf Digest ranked him as the No. 2 instructor on the PGA Tour. His players like him for his ability to conduct a complete analysis of their games and return a simple solution to help them play better. “You get the result you want without all the big words.” as Scott often says.

18 Comments

18 Comments

  1. Dr Troy

    Oct 30, 2015 at 7:57 pm

    Scott has an awesome stable of pros. Amazing how that many studs come to little ol Cartersville here north of ATL for instruction. Keep up the great work Scott!

  2. Spencer

    Oct 30, 2015 at 12:48 am

    Can this apply to irons as well?

    • Scott Hamilton

      Nov 2, 2015 at 7:05 pm

      Yeah Man. This applies to all clubs if it gets to parallel. If it’s a shorter swing the club head can point a little left. Bowdo does this.

  3. Jeff

    Oct 29, 2015 at 3:05 pm

    Great article. Where should the club head be with an iron?

  4. Chipshot

    Oct 29, 2015 at 12:22 am

    Being 5’9″, this technique would feel super steep at the top of my backswing. The flatter plain feels more comfortable for me. I favored the Woosnam’s and Hogan’s with the lower center of gravity.

  5. Connor

    Oct 28, 2015 at 3:48 pm

    if the club is laid off at the top shouldn’t it be pointing to the left of the target?

  6. Birdeez

    Oct 28, 2015 at 1:37 pm

    what type of phone holder or tripod is being used? where can i find this online.

    those offered that attach to alignment rods sway or shake in the slightest breeze.

  7. Mike

    Oct 28, 2015 at 1:16 pm

    Thanks this was great.

  8. jesse

    Oct 28, 2015 at 12:54 pm

    Great video, even better website. After watching the video I loved in and watched the videos on your site. Golfwrx can we please get more content like this.

    • Scott Hamilton

      Nov 2, 2015 at 7:08 pm

      Thanks for the comment. I’m working with a good friend of mine on this OnTourGolf.com site. It’s gonna have a lot of the other coaches on tour on there soon and I think more of these videos are supposed to be posted here too. I’ll check.

  9. Fred

    Oct 28, 2015 at 11:28 am

    Cool video. Thanks for posting.

    • B-man

      Oct 28, 2015 at 11:39 am

      One of the best articles I’ve ever seen here.

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Instruction

WATCH: How to control your low point and angle of attack in the bunker

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Top-100 golf instructor Tom Stickney of Punta Mita Golf Academy demonstrates how to control your low point and angle of attack when hitting greenside bunker shots.

Enjoy the video below!

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WATCH: How DJ’s “bent left wrist” move can help fix your slice

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While at True Spec Golf in Chicago recently, we spoke with Rick Silva of Movement 3 Golf and True Spec Golf about Dustin Johnson’s bent left wrist position and how it can help golfers. Below, Silva briefly explains “gamma,” and how it can help your golf swing to produce straighter (and longer) shots.

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The Science of Square: Is a wrist position at the top like DJ better for your swing?

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I recently wrote an article called “The Science of Square: Understanding the relationship between the wrist and the club face,” about the wrist action during the swing and what happens when you change conditions from address to the top, and how that affects the club face. In addition, I suggested that the average golfer plays from a more square condition at the top, rather than one that is radically shut (i.e. Dustin Johnson). I did not say that the average player could not play from a slightly shut condition, but remember, compensations have to occur.

However, there has been a growing number of better players who have had wonderful success playing from conditions at the top that range from slightly shut to super-shut. Think about the swings of John Rahm, Justin Thomas, Brooks Koepka, Tony Finau, and Dustin Johnson at the top.

So in this article, let’s examine the shut club face position at the top using Hack Motion’s Wrist Sensor so you can see how the wrist action changes when this type of position occurs during the swing. I took a few sample swings with the new “modern” swing… slightly stronger grip working into a flexed lead wrist at the top, which causes the shut face at the top like DJ. Here is what we saw…

At address we see that the wrist in the stronger position possesses 32 degrees of extension, or cupping at address, which is common with stronger grips showing more knuckles.

At the top I moved from 32 degrees of extension to -12 degrees of flexion a change of 52 degrees from address to the top. I will tell you that moving your wrist from extended to flexed is hard enough and to do so like DJ is superhuman!

Now here is where it gets interesting… in the chest-high position on the way down I still possess -7 degrees of flexion, meaning the club now swinging from the inside has a face that is slightly shut. These two things together will cause the ball to move from the right to the left easier because I won’t have to think about the “release.”

Above is the delivery position around belt-high, the lead wrist is still into flexion and will also deloft the club and deliver some extra shaft lean coming into the ball. Great for players with a ton of speed.

Impact (above) for me is with a neutral lead wrist, which means that the club was delivered with solid impact alignments. But why isn’t mine flexed more at impact? Because with my lack of Tour Quality Swing Speed, I simply cannot get the ball to go high enough or stay in the air long enough to work for me, thus, I have to hit the ball in a more neutral impact position. This is one of the biggest reasons why this position will not work for players without higher than normal swing speeds.

In fact, many great teachers feel that this has merits for the slower swing speeds as well, but with a caveat. Brian Manzella, a Golf Digest Top-50 Teacher and a Golf Magazine Top-100 Teacher, says

“To me, all club faces are open at the top relative to the target, so armed with a stronger grip, the face is less open during the swing. This helps some slicers by giving them less to close by the time of impact, and helps some good players hitting fades easier at high speed, by unwinding their bodies more and having their hands more forward at impact. However, the main advantage for folks with more neutral top of the backswing positions, is that if your wrist is flexed late, you can start to go toward extension to add speed and still have forward lean at impact.”

Basically he’s saying that for neutral players, if you have some bowing of the left wrist within your deliver position, you can get away with some “throw” at the bottom and still have solid impact!

The bottom line is that you must figure out what position works best for you and your game. For me, I play better from a more neutral position due to my lack of speed, but that shouldn’t deter you from trying the stronger grip and more shut position at the top; heck it just might be YOUR key to success.

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