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The swing change that led to Aaron Baddeley’s 1st win in 4 years

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Tour Radius – Scott Hamilton from OnTour Golf on Vimeo.

When you look at the stats, the difference between the game’s top players can sometimes be difficult to sort out. The fractional differences in each skill between players can add up to a great performance or a missed cut. As an instructor, it can be difficult to decide what to work on when the statistics don’t point to a glaring weakness.

That wasn’t the case when I started working with Aaron Baddeley. It was clear from the start that we had to work on his full swing. The best he had ranked tee-to-green since his last PGA Tour win four seasons ago was 157th. Each year he managed to keep his card by being a legendary putter. In those same four years since his last victory, he never ranked worse than 8th in Strokes Gained Putting (he even ranked 1st in 2015). The stats made it very clear. Aaron needed to improve his performance on full shots. My task was simple, if I could help turn the Tour’s best putter into a better ball striker, success would follow.

Last week, Aaron won his first event since 2011 at The Barbosol Championship in Alabama. Ranking 8th in both Strokes Gained: Tee to Green and Putting, his performance with his full swing finally matched his putter. The combination added up to victory.  In an interview after his win, Aaron mentioned us finding the root of his problem and the hard work we’ve done to fix it.

I made a video about his swing change earlier this year, and thought I’d share it with everyone here at GolfWRX.

Aaron’s Swing Change

Applying It to Your Game

This video is part of Scott Hamilton’s “The Iron Swing” series from OnTOURGolf.com. You can watch the first nine chapters of the series by signing up here. 

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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.

19 Comments

19 Comments

  1. Dominick Miernicki

    Aug 22, 2016 at 1:52 pm

    The premier online golf community. Industry news, equipment reviews, tour photos, discussion forums, and classifieds.

  2. Kb

    Jul 30, 2016 at 11:54 am

    You’d know, considering you’re a large woman yourself

  3. Ramrod Ray Reardon

    Jul 23, 2016 at 9:35 am

    Swing fixes for pros are largely useless for the average hacker who cannot move their upper and lower body independently. Pros can. Back pain awaits people trying to stay in the same spine angle throughout the swing. Not a great thing to copy IMO.

    • bobilla

      Jul 29, 2016 at 2:21 pm

      I don’t think you’re doing it right.

  4. tom

    Jul 22, 2016 at 8:23 pm

    Scott looks like Roger Clemens.

  5. don d.

    Jul 22, 2016 at 8:01 am

    a win is a win . no masters though. aaron is one of the good guys. great in pro ams.

  6. gunna22

    Jul 22, 2016 at 3:34 am

    Such an annoying accent

    • Tyler

      Jul 27, 2016 at 2:02 pm

      That’s all you got out of this article? Which state/country are you from that you don’t have an ugly accent to someone from another state/country? Keep your annoying comments to yourself bro.

  7. 300 Yard Pro

    Jul 21, 2016 at 12:22 pm

    Weak field. That’s why he won.

  8. Christian

    Jul 21, 2016 at 9:28 am

    Did he need to flatten the lie of his irons after the swing change?

    • bobizzle

      Jul 29, 2016 at 2:40 pm

      His initial swing fault was coming out of his spine angle, straightening out, and getting the handle a lot higher at contact. If you maintain the correct spine angle and tilt down and through contact by focusing on keeping your butt back, the swing has to flatten in order to make a solid strike. Your arms will naturally want to fall almost vertically, placing your hands lower and closer to your body. That little bob down and back to straight with the lead leg at or just after contact helps whip the club head through the impact zone. Tiger did that to an exaggerated degree, I believe to his detriment. Didn’t help his left knee out much, or his current back issues, but the demands and forces he put on his body year after year have seemingly come home to roost in the form of a spectacular but shortened career. Know your own body. Swing accordingly.

  9. YackNWilt

    Jul 21, 2016 at 1:59 am

    Lets not forget why Badds went awry to begin with: he got suckered by Stack & Tilt !!!!
    That’s what got him all out of whack in the first place.
    Now he’s back to a more normal move into the ball. He used to swing great back when he won the Australian.
    Just needed to get his old swing back before he went to Stack

  10. SB

    Jul 21, 2016 at 1:28 am

    happy to see aaron back on winner track! good training also, i should give it a try.

  11. kev

    Jul 20, 2016 at 8:11 pm

    sure would like to understand why the butt comes in or goat humping. is it because of pushing off the right foot too hard?

    • Jack

      Jul 20, 2016 at 9:51 pm

      I used to do this, because it felt like I was getting more power off it. It was so ingrained that I felt like I was not going to hit it as far if I didn’t do it. I got rid of it mostly through watching instant replays of my swing every time, and just working on hip rotation. With the hip rotating instead of humping air (LOL) it just provided more power rather than less. It’s important to keep that spine angle intact as well. This really helped my issue with drawing the ball too much as bumping the hips towards the ball caused my wrist angle to become flat and the club was more upright promoting a more close clubface and causing the ball to fly/curve left.

    • Kevin B

      Jul 20, 2016 at 10:39 pm

      I did this move because my backswing was to fast and my lower body couldnt catch up and I would goat hump sometimes even OTT.

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Instruction

A simple formula to figure out the right ball position for you

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In this video, I offer my simple formula on ball position that has seen my students produce more consistency. Watch to see how you can adapt your ball position to hit more shots on target.

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How to fix the root cause of hitting your golf shots fat

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Of all the shots golfers fear, hitting the ball FAT has to be right up at the top of the list. At least it heads the list of commonly hit poor shots (let’s leave the shank and the whiff out for now). After fat, I’d list topping, followed by slicing and then hooking. They are all round-killers, although the order of the list is an individual thing based on ability. Professionals despise a hook, but club golfers by and large fear FAT. Why?

First of all, it’s embarrassing. Secondly, it goes nowhere — at least compared to thin — and it can be physically painful! So to avoid this dreaded miss, golfers do any number of things (consciously or subconsciously) to avoid it. The pattern develops very early in one’s golf life. It does not take very many fat shots for golfers to realize that they need to do something differently. But rather than correct the problem with the correct move(s), golfers often correct a fault with a fault.

Shortening the radius (chicken-winging), raising the swing center, early lower-body extension, holding on through impact (saving it), running the upper body ahead of the golf ball and even coming over the top are all ways of avoiding fat shots. No matter how many drills I may offer for correcting any of those mistakes, none will work if the root cause of fat is not addressed.

So what causes fat? We have to start with posture. Some players simply do not have enough room to deliver the golf club on a good plane from inside to inside. Next on the list of causes is a wide, early cast of the club head. This move is invariably followed by a break down in the lead arm, holding on for dear life into impact, or any of the others…

“Swaying” (getting the swing center too far off the golf ball) is another cause of fat, as well as falling to the rear foot or “reversing the weight.” Both of these moves can cause one to bottom out well behind the ball. Finally, an excessive inside-out swing path (usually the fault of those who hook the ball) also causes an early bottom or fat shot, particularly if the release is even remotely early. 

Here are 4 things to try if you’re hitting fat shots

  1. Better Posture: Bend forward from the hips so that arms hang from the shoulders and directly over the tips of the toes, knees slightly flexed over the shoelaces, seat out for balance and chin off the chest!
  2. Maintaining the Angles: Casting, the natural urge to throw the clubhead at the golf ball, is a very difficult habit to break if one is not trained from the start. The real correction is maintaining the angle of the trail wrist (lag) a little longer so that the downswing is considerably more narrow than the backswing. But as I said, if you have been playing for some time, this is risky business. Talk to your instructor before working on this!
  3. Maintaining the Swing Center Over the Golf Ball: In your backswing, focus on keeping your sternum more directly over the golf ball (turning in a barrel, as Ernest Jones recommended). For many, this may feel like a “reverse pivot,” but if you are actually swaying off the ball it’s not likely you will suddenly get stuck with too much weight on your lead foot.
  4. Setting Up a Little More Open: If your swing direction is too much in-to-out, you may need to align your body more open (or feel that way). You could also work with a teaching aid that helps you feel the golf club is being swung more out in front of you and more left (for right-handers) coming through — something as simple as a head cover inside the golf ball. You’ll hit the headcover if you are stuck too far inside coming down.

The point is that most players do what they have to do to avoid their disastrous result. Slicers swing way left, players who fight a hook swing inside out and anybody who has ever laid sod over the golf ball will find a way to avoid doing it again. This, in my opinion, is the evolution of most swing faults, and trying to correct a fault with a fault almost never ends up well.

Get with an instructor, get some good videos (and perhaps even some radar numbers) to see what you are actually doing. Then work on the real corrections, not ones that will cause more trouble.

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Instruction

Right Knee Bend: The Difference Between PGA Tour Players and Amateurs

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The knees play an especially important role in the golf swing, helping to transfer the forces golfers generate through our connection with the ground. When we look closer at the right knee bend in the golf swing, we’re able to get a better sense of how PGA Tour players generate power compared to most amateur golfers.

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