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GolfWRX’s Swing Experts Weigh In on Tiger’s New Swing

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tiger woods new swing

Everyone has a take on Tiger Woods “new swing.” That is, the action he displayed in his “smooth iron shot” video last week and at his clinic at Monterey Peninsula Country Club, Monday.

Would it be premature to draw any firm conclusions from what we’ve seen? Absolutely, but analysts — both armchair and professional — are going to analyze.

We’re lucky enough to have Tom Stickney and Dennis Clark among the experts who share their knowledge of the golf swing with the GolfWRX audience.

It only seemed natural to ask the pair of top teachers what they see in the 14-time major champion’s motion as he tries to make a return to competitive golf following his fourth back surgery.

Here’s the footage they were looking at. And we can’t thank Kevin Roman, Director of Instruction at MPCC, enough for bringing the items he tweeted to our attention.

https://twitter.com/kevinromangolf/status/917913614375198720

Dennis Clark

“My thinking on Tiger remains the same. If he gets his body speed back he may compete at a high level again. He can’t turn through like he used to, so he can’t release the club as freely. His lower body stops, hands take over flip hook or block.

“From the little I can notice in this video it does appear like he’s been more aggressive coming to the golf ball.”

Tom Stickney

”Basically it’s a stock Tiger “range swing” where he’s relaxed and moving at a much slower pace than normal. Therefore, his extra head motion and linkage is not as out of whack as it is in full speed.

“But what can we expect from a guy who is just a few months out of back surgery? It does appear that he is not ‘staying with the shot’ as much as he normally does giving his shots the sound of being a touch thin, but who would at this point? I think he’s slowly moving forward and have confidence that Chris Como and he will address any physical contraindications that will come their way.”

So there you have it, a couple of professional opinions regarding Tiger’s “new” swing to reference when you’re playing the swing videos on your phone and breaking down TW’s action at the bar with your buddies this weekend.

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28 Comments

28 Comments

  1. steve long

    Oct 28, 2017 at 11:25 am

    unless the right elbow is bent at address, the right shoulder and the head must be lower at impact than at address, because the right elbow is bent at impact.

  2. Jim

    Oct 15, 2017 at 10:58 am

    Dennis,

    I suffer from exactly the same swing problem that Tiger has, just not on the same level. I have found that what works for me is keeping my right shoulder higher in the downswing. My contact is much better and I can get more to my left side and, most importantly for me, I can finish in a straight up and down position as opposed to the back-killing old reverse C. This has greatly helped take pressure off my lower back.

  3. The dude

    Oct 15, 2017 at 6:22 am

    Follow through…….stiff as a board

    • Harvey Weinstein

      Oct 15, 2017 at 10:17 am

      Hmmmmm. Age. But we can still dip

  4. OB

    Oct 13, 2017 at 4:58 pm

    I’m impressed with his effortless kinetic chain power transfer from his lower body to his upper body. His legs and hips are decisive and the kinetic energy just ripples up his spinal column to torque his broad shoulder span. From there his arm and hands react to the power flow culminating in a sweet release of his clubhead. This golfer is destined for bigger and better things in the future because he has that winning ways mojo about him.

    • MB

      Oct 13, 2017 at 5:39 pm

      Until we stick a few cute blonde girls with big chests in front of him down the fairways and around the greens and he’ll lose his concentration

      • birdy

        Oct 16, 2017 at 9:21 am

        these predictable and tiring jokes are so stale

    • golfreality

      Oct 13, 2017 at 8:27 pm

      your delusional

  5. DJ

    Oct 13, 2017 at 12:03 pm

    Tiger has never dipped this much on the DS. I agree with other posts that he will struggle greatly if not corrected. The dip adds more pressure to the swing and under pressure the dip will be quicker and steeper. He looks the same. Wait till he starts little pitch shot a under pressure and see how well this holds up. Won’t happen.

  6. Tom

    Oct 13, 2017 at 11:24 am

    Title reads “Experts weigh in…” I was expecting insight from every user on the Instruction forum.

  7. Dave

    Oct 13, 2017 at 10:59 am

    I immediately noted the “Tiger dip” when I first saw this clip. He looks good. Hope he can make a strong comeback.

  8. Andrew

    Oct 13, 2017 at 9:46 am

    If Michelle Wie can play on the PGA Tour, Tiger can play on the LPGA Tour, right? Equal opportunity goes both ways, right?

    The swing that Butch built is gone. Let’s see if Adam Scott’s swing can hold up another 10 years without back problems. If so, BIG MISTAKE Tiger. Huge. Greed ruins.

    • Skip

      Oct 13, 2017 at 1:26 pm

      let’s see if Adam can win 14 majors…yeah.

      • Shallowface

        Oct 13, 2017 at 6:13 pm

        If Scott would have had Tiger putting for him, he probably would have broken every record in the book.
        I used to get a lot of eye rolls when I would tell people that if Woods ever lost his chipping and putting, he’d be just another guy named “Meat.”
        After that last comeback attempt, I don’t get those looks any more.
        It’s the biggest part of the game, but make no mistake. Tiger’s later record was built on chipping and putting, not ball striking. That’s going to need to come back if he has any chance. I think that’s unlikely.
        If Tiger had kept the “Butch” swing, he would have broken every record in the book, and probably would still be breaking them.
        But as I read recently, Butch said “Tiger likes to tinker.”
        And there you have it.

        • Jer

          Oct 13, 2017 at 7:22 pm

          He would have won more with Haney’s swing than Butch’s. Butch actually didn’t to much to the actual swing, Butch is always more the mental game and game plan/course management type coach, but Haney definitely changed it up. And Eldrick won more with Hank than he did with anybody else. It’s his women-chasing that was his downfall, not the swing tinkering, let’s all be honest about that.

          • Terry (TMAC)

            Oct 13, 2017 at 11:05 pm

            He may have won more tournaments with Haney’s swing but he won more Majors under Butch.

            • Jer

              Oct 14, 2017 at 3:28 am

              But if he had carried on with Hank, imagine how many he could have won. But then then he got caught with the ladies, so that was that, as they say

        • golfreality

          Oct 13, 2017 at 8:29 pm

          please watch us open final round at pebble and talk 2 me about ballstriking

        • Steve S

          Oct 14, 2017 at 4:24 pm

          Read Mark Broadie’s book every shot counts. He debunks the myth that Tiger was a great putter. . He was a great ball striker. His approach shots were much closer than anyone else on the tour at his peak so he had more makeable putts for birdies(and eagles) than anyone else by far. He was a good short range putter which we saw on TV since he was always much closer to the hole than his competition. As far as his rank on the tour for putting he was rarely in the top 20.

  9. MB

    Oct 13, 2017 at 2:34 am

    Dippity doo dah, dippity day
    This way too much dipping will cost him his game
    A great swinger he once was
    Now can’t figure out anything but dippity too dah
    and look like he’s copying Charles Barkley’s flaws

    • The dude

      Oct 13, 2017 at 4:17 am

      14 majors with Dippity do da ……how was your coma?

      • Scott

        Oct 13, 2017 at 10:11 am

        He never dipped like that when he was winning said 14 majors. I hate to use the words never or always, but in this case I am very confident that will never win again with that dip. That is an awful swing flaw that he needs to eliminate.

  10. Groden

    Oct 12, 2017 at 7:43 pm

    first video shows a very nice swing…..the next few show his quick jerk of his body at impact, is he planning on tearing up another part of his body? Needs to look at his smooth swing and figure out how to play with that…gee he may have to move up a club or two and give up the 150 yard pitching wedges…

    • OB

      Oct 13, 2017 at 5:09 pm

      Yup…. that upward thrust prior to impact will again tear up his left knee ligaments because the addition of thrust to the high torque applied to the left knee is dangerous, particularly if you have already had surgery on his left knee.

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Instruction

How the Trail Arm Should Work In Backswing

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Stop getting stuck! In this video, I demonstrate a great drill to help you move your trail arm correctly in the backswing.

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Self-discovery: Why golf lessons aren’t helping you improve

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Of all the things I teach or have taught in golf, I think this is the most important: It’s not what we cover in a lesson, it’s what you discover. 

Some years ago, I had a student in golf school for a few days. She was topping every single shot. Zero were airborne. I explained that she was opening her body and moving forward before her arms and club were coming down. “Late” we call it. I had her feel like her arms were coming down first and her body was staying behind, a common correction for late tops. Bingo! Every ball went up into the air. She was ecstatic.

Some time later, she called and said she was topping every shot. She scheduled a lesson. She topped every shot. I asked her why she was topping the ball. “I think I’m picking up my head,” she said to my look of utter disbelief!

I had another student who was shanking the ball. At least 3 out of 5 came off the hosel with his wedges. I explained that his golf club was pointed seriously left at the top of his backswing. It was positioned well OUTSIDE his hands, which caused it to come down too wide and swing OUTSIDE his hands into impact. This is a really common cause of shanking. We were able to get the club more down the line at the top and come down a bit narrower and more inside the ball. No shanks… not a one!  He called me sometime later. The shanks had returned. You get the rest. When I asked what was causing him to shank, he told me “I get too quick.”

If you are hitting the golf ball better during a golf lesson, you have proven to yourself that you CAN do it. But what comes after the lesson is out of a teacher’s hands. It’s as simple as that. I cannot control what you do after you leave my lesson tee. Now, if you are NOT hitting the ball better during a lesson or don’t understand why you’re not hitting it better, I will take the blame. And…you do not have to compensate me for my time. That is the extent to which I’ll go to display my commitment and accept my responsibility. What we as teachers ask is the same level of commitment from the learners.

Improving at golf is a two-way street. My way is making the correct diagnosis and offering you a personalized correction, possibly several of them. Pick the ONE that works for you. What is your way on the street? Well, here are a few thoughts on that:

  • If you are taking a lesson at 10 a.m. with a tee time at 11 a.m. and you’re playing a $20 Nassau with your buddies, you pretty much wasted your time and money.
  • If the only time you hit balls is to warm up for your round, you have to be realistic about your results.
  • If you are expecting 250-yard drives with an 85 mph club head speed, well… let’s get real.
  • If you “fake it” during a lesson, you’re not going to realize any lasting improvement. When the teacher asks if you understand or can feel what’s being explained and you say yes when in fact you DO NOT understand, you’re giving misleading feedback and hurting only yourself. Speak up!

Here’s a piece of advise I have NEVER seen fail. If you don’t get it during the lesson, there is no chance you’ll get it later. It’s not enough to just hit it better; you have to fully understand WHY you hit it better. Or if you miss, WHY you missed.

I have a rule I follow when conducting a golf lesson. After I explain the diagnosis and offer the correction, I’ll usually get some better results. So I continue to offer that advice swing after swing. But at some point in the lesson, I say NOTHING. Typically, before long the old ball flight returns and I wait– THREE SWINGS. If the student was a slicer and slices THREE IN A ROW, then it’s time for me to step in again. I have to allow for self discovery at some point. You have to wean yourself off my guidance and internalize the corrections. You have to FEEL IT.

When you can say, “If the ball did this then I know I did that” you are likely getting it. There is always an individual cause and effect you need to understand in order to go off by yourself and continue self improvement. If you hit a better shot but do not know why, please tell your teacher. What did I do? That way you’re playing to learn, not simply learning to play.

A golf lesson is a guidance, not an hour of how to do this or that. The teacher is trying to get you to discover what YOU need to feel to get more desirable outcomes. If all you’re getting out of it is “how,” you are not likely to stay “fixed.” Remember this: It’s not what we cover in the lesson; it’s what you discover!

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Instruction

Jumping for Distance (Part 2): The One-Foot Jump

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In Part 1, I wrote about how I think this concept of jumping up with both feet for more power may have come about in part due to misinterpretation of still photography and force plate data, self-propagation, and a possible case of correlation vs causation. I also covered reasoning why these players are often airborne, and that can be from flawed setups that include overly wide stances and/or lead foot positions that are too closed at setup or a re-planted lead foot that ends up too closed during the downswing.

In Part 2, let’s look at what I feel is a better alternative, the one foot jump. To me, it’s safer, it doesn’t complicate ball striking as much, and it can still generate huge amounts of vertical ground force.

First, set up with an appropriate stance width. I like to determine how wide to stand based on the length of your lower legs. If you go to your finish position and stand on your lead leg and let your trail leg dangle down so your knees are parallel, your lower trail leg should extend only as far back as it will go while being up on the tip of your trail toe. If you roll that trail foot back down to the ground, viola, you’ll have a stance width that’s wide enough to be “athletic” and stable but not so wide you lose balance when swinging. You can go a little wider than this, but not much.

To contrast, the stance below would be too wide.

Jumping off the ground can be caused by too wide of a stance and lead foot position that is too closed at setup

Second, make sure your lead foot is open sufficiently at address. I’ve previously outlined how to do both these first two points in this article.

Third, whether you shift your weight to your trail foot or keep a more centered weight type feeling in the backswing, when you shift your weight to your lead foot, be careful of the Bubba replant, and then push up with that lead leg to push your lead shoulder up. This is the one-foot “jump” and it will take advantage of parametric acceleration (read more about that here).

But also at the same time, shift your lower spine towards the target.

From a face-on viewpoint, this can look like back bend, but in 3D space it’s side bend. It kind of feels like you are crunching the trail side of your mid-section, or maybe just bending over to the side to pick up a suitcase, for example. This move helps lower your trail shoulder, which brings down the club (whereas this is more difficult to do if you try to two-foot jump with your trail leg). It also helps you to keep from getting airborne off your lead foot. Further it doesn’t change your low point (by not changing the relative position of the C7 vertebrae in its general orb in space) and complicate ball striking like a two-foot jump does.

At this point, the club releases and you can stand up out of the shot (you don’t need to transition in to any sort of dangerous back bend) in balance on your lead foot having generates tons of vertical ground force without having jumped off the ground or putting yourself at risk for injury.

“Movember” mustache… not required!

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