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Swing Sequence: Steve Stricker by Golf Digest

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By Ron Kaspriske
Golf Digest
Edited By Peter Morrice
Photos by J.D. Cuban

Quietly getting it done

Most golfers would kill to have Ernie Els’ easy rhythm or Phil Mickelson’s hand-eye coordination, but you rarely hear anyone say they want to swing like Steve Stricker.

“Ha! I guess not. But they should,” says Dennis Tiziani, Stricker’s father-in-law and swing coach. “I can’t think of a swing of a world-class player that’s easier to copy.”

The key to Stricker’s swing is, it has fewer moving parts: It’s a stiff-wristed action controlled by a big body turn. Most better players maximize wrist hinge on the backswing to gain leverage at impact — like cracking a whip — but Stricker’s wrists are fairly quiet. That’s why his swing is shorter, and why he’s among the top 30 on tour in hitting fairways.

“When you hinge, you need good timing to hit the ball where you want,” Stricker says. “By trying to eliminate wrist cock, my swing’s more under control.”

If you think J.B. Holmes’ and Bubba Watson’s swings look violent and powerful, you’d probably say Stricker’s is slow and graceful. But he generates power by turning his body and rotating his forearms back and through, compared to the last-second snap of the wrists you see in many top players. Tiziani says Stricker’s armsy action is more reliable under pressure.

“I try to make it simple. I take the left arm, rotate it to the top and don’t worry about the wrist set,” Stricker says. “I try to be as firm with my wrists as I can, and just turn through. I feel like that’s a more consistent way.”
–Ron Kaspriske
——————-
AGE: 43 | HEIGHT: 6-feet | DRIVER: Titleist 909 D3, 8.5 deg. | BALL: Titleist Pro V1 (2007) | DRIVING DISTANCE (RANK): 278.8 yards (124th) | DRIVING ACCURACY (RANK): 67.7 percent of fairways (26th)

Here’s a tour swing you can copy
The world’s No. 4 player has a simple, repeatable move

Most golfers would kill to have Ernie Els’ easy rhythm or Phil Mickelson’s hand-eye coordination, but you rarely hear anyone say they want to swing like Steve Stricker.

“Ha! I guess not. But they should,” says Dennis Tiziani, Stricker’s father-in-law and swing coach. “I can’t think of a swing of a world-class player that’s easier to copy.”

The key to Stricker’s swing is, it has fewer moving parts: It’s a stiff-wristed action controlled by a big body turn. Most better players maximize wrist hinge on the backswing to gain leverage at impact — like cracking a whip — but Stricker’s wrists are fairly quiet. That’s why his swing is shorter, and why he’s among the top 30 on tour in hitting fairways.

“When you hinge, you need good timing to hit the ball where you want,” Stricker says. “By trying to eliminate wrist cock, my swing’s more under control.”

If you think J.B. Holmes’ and Bubba Watson’s swings look violent and powerful, you’d probably say Stricker’s is slow and graceful. But he generates power by turning his body and rotating his forearms back and through, compared to the last-second snap of the wrists you see in many top players. Tiziani says Stricker’s armsy action is more reliable under pressure.

“I try to make it simple. I take the left arm, rotate it to the top and don’t worry about the wrist set,” Stricker says. “I try to be as firm with my wrists as I can, and just turn through. I feel like that’s a more consistent way.”
–Ron Kaspriske

His lack of wrist set keeps the face from rotating open.

When his right elbow gets behind him, like here, he can overcook his draw.

Steve keeps his right heel down to use the ground for leverage.

This is great sequencing of the body at the ball: hips open, shoulders dead square.

You can tell Steve hits a draw because his left forearm is higher than his right.

Read More http://www.golfdigest.com/golf-instruction/swing-sequences/2010-08/photos-steve-stricker#ixzz1fdL664QD

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2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. Mark Winkler

    Feb 17, 2012 at 7:40 am

    Try to copy this swing and game improvement is immediate, from chipping to driver your game will improve, trust me!

    • Jason

      Jul 2, 2014 at 6:46 am

      Can you go into any kind of detail on setup and maybe a feel for the backswing?

      Are his wrist really uncocked at address? So high hands?

      His chipping stuff (like Dan Carraher’s) has helped me tremendously.

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Instruction

Clement: Load up the full power package in the backswing!

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This video is FUNDAMENTAL FOR POWER GAINS in the golf swing; the arm anatomy BEGS TO BE USED in this manner from casting a fishing pole, to serving a tennis ball to batting a baseball to driving a golf ball. YOU WILL LOVE how much SNAP you will get through the ball and the sound the ball will make coming off the club from the compression off the face. BLISS ON A STICK!

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Clement: This wrist position can add 30 yards to your drive

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Drop the mic on how the wrists should load and be positioned for compressive power, accuracy, and longevity! There is a better way, and this is it!

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Instruction

Short Game University: How to hit wedges 301

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In golf, there is nothing harder than judging a flop shot over a bunker to a tight pin out of long grass. Why? Because there are so many variables to account for — in addition to what you can and cannot do with a wedge. In fact, up until very recently in the world of wedge design, we were limited to only increasing the landing angle to stop the ball, because relying on spin from this lie and this close to the green was next to impossible.

Now with the advent of things like raw faces, different CG locations, new groove design, and micro-ribs between the grooves, we can now spin the ball out of lies that we never could have done so before. This is not to say that you can now zip the ball back from these types of lies, but we are seeing spin rates that have skyrocketed, and this allows us to not open the face as much as we needed to do before in order to stop the ball.

Before we get into the shot around the green itself, let’s talk a bit about wedge design. For that, I called a great friend of mine, Greg Cesario, TaylorMade’s Staff Manager to help us understand a bit more about wedges. Greg was a former PGA Tour Player and had a big hand in designing the new Milled Grind 3 Wedges.

Cesario said: “Wedge technology centers on two key areas- the first is optimizing its overall launch/spin (just like drivers) on all shots and the second is optimum ground interaction through the geometry of the sole (bounce, sole width, and sole shape).”

“Two key things impact spin: Groove design and face texture. Spin is the secondary effect of friction. This friction essentially helps the ball stick to the face a little longer and reduces slippage. We define slippage as how much the ball slides up the face at impact. That happens more when it’s wet outside during those early morning tee times, out of thicker lies, or after a bit of weather hits. Our Raised Micro-Ribs increase friction and reduce slippage on short partial shots around the round – that’s particularly true in wet conditions.”

“We’ve been experimenting with ways to find optimal CG (center of gravity) placement and how new geometries can influence that. We know that CG locations can influence launch, trajectory and spin. Everyone is chasing the ability to produce lower launching and higher spinning wedge shots to help players increase precision distance control. In that space, moving CG just a few millimeters can have big results. Beyond that, we’re continuing to advance our spin and friction capabilities – aiming to reduce the decay of spin from dry to fluffy, or wet conditions.”

Basically, what Greg is saying is that without improvements in design, we would never be able to spin the ball like we would normally when it’s dry and the lie is perfect. So, with this new design in a wedge like the Milled Grind 3 (and others!), how can we make sure we have the optimal opportunity to hit these faster-stopping pitch shots?

  1. Make sure the face is clean and dry
  2. Open the blade slightly, but not too much
  3. Set the wrists quicker on the backswing to increase the AoA
  4. Keep the rear shoulder moving through impact to keep the arms going

Make sure the face is clean and dry

If your thought is to use spin to stop the ball quicker under any situation, then you must give the club a chance to do its job. When the grooves are full of dirt and grass and the remaining exposed face is wet, then you are basically eliminating any opportunity to create spin. In fact, if you decide to hit the shot under these conditions, you might as well hit a flop shot as this would be the only opportunity to create a successful outcome. Don’t put yourself behind the eight-ball automatically, keep your club in a clean and dry condition so you have the best chance to do what you are capable of doing.

Open the blade slightly, but not too much

Without going into too much extra detail, spinloft is the difference between your angle of attack and your dynamic loft. And this difference is one of the main areas where you can maximize your spin output.

Too little or too much spinloft and you will not be able to get the maximum spin out of the shot at hand. With wedges, people equate an open clubface to spinning the ball, and this can be a problem due to excessive spinloft. Whenever you have too much dynamic loft, the ball will slide up the face (reduced friction equals reduced spin) and the ball will float out higher than expected and roll out upon landing.

My thought around the green is to open the face slightly, but not all the way, in efforts to reduce the probability of having too much spinloft during impact. Don’t forget under this scenario we are relying on additional spin to stop the ball. If you are using increased landing angle to stop the ball, then you would obviously not worry about increasing spinloft! Make sure you have these clear in your mind before you decide how much to open the blade.

Opened slightly

Opened too much

One final note: Please make sure you understand what bounce option you need for the type of conditions you normally play. Your professional can help you but I would say that more bounce is better than less bounce for the average player. You can find the bounce listed on the wedge itself. It will range between 4-14, with the mid-range bounce being around 10 degrees.

Set the wrists quicker on the backswing to increase the angle of attack

As we know, when debris gets in between the clubface and the ball (such as dirt/grass), you will have two problems. One, you will not be able to control the ball as much. Secondly, you will not be able to spin the ball as much due to the loss of friction.

So, what is the key to counteract this problem? Increasing the angle of attack by setting the wrists quicker on the backswing. Making your downswing look more like a V rather than a U allows less junk to get between the club and the ball. We are not using the bounce on this type of shot, we are using the leading edge to slice through the rough en route to the ball. Coming in too shallow is a huge problem with this shot, because you will tend to hit it high on the face reducing control.

Use your increased AoA on all of your crappy lies, and you will have a much better chance to get up and down more often!

Keep the rear shoulder moving through impact to keep the arms going

The final piece of the puzzle through the ball is speed through the pivot. You cannot hit shots around the green out of tall grass without keeping the club moving and having speed. A reduction of speed is obvious as the club enters into the tall grass, but you don’t want to exacerbate this problem by cutting off your pivot and letting the arms do all the work.

Sure, there are times when you want to cut off the body rotation through the ball, but not on the shot I am discussing here. When we are using spin, you must have speed to generate the spin itself. So, what is the key to maintaining your speed? Keeping the rear shoulder rotating long into the forward swing. If you do this, you will find that your arms, hands, and club will be pulled through the impact zone. If your pivot stalls, then your speed will decrease and your shots will suffer.

Hopefully, by now you understand how to create better shots around the green using the new wedge technology to create more spin with lies that we had no chance to do so before. Remembering these simple tips — coupled with your clean and dry wedge — will give you the best opportunity to be Tiger-like around the greens!

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