How great is this kid? I mean here is a kid who gets it. Ryo is an absolute phenom and has the celebrity status of any top athlete (particularly in Japan). He has fame, fortune, is under 20 years old and has the where with all to donate all is 2011 tournament earnings to the Japan Tsunami Disaster Relief. How can you not cheer for him to win every week? I wanted Ishikawa to win the WGC event at Firestone this past week so he could donate the full $1.4 million first prize. However, the t4 prize of $414,000 still helps the cause a lot.
This kid also has serious game. Did you see the shot he hit in the final round of the 2010 US Open at Pebble Beach? There was a reachable par 4 on the front nine. I remember Dustin Johnson hitting an iron off the tee and was almost on the green. The Ryo pulled out his driver. I know Johnson is long, but he is not that much longer than Ryo. So I am wondering what he is going to do...well, he hits a knockdown fade that comes off like a bullet and never gets higher than 30 feet in the air. He uses the contours of the fairway to roll the ball up onto the front fringe. Now that was some serious shot making!
I love Ishikawa's swing. I love what he does with his move, and keeps things pretty simple. Let’s start with the face on view.
Ishikawa - Stance Width
First thing to note is his stance width. He makes a wide base with his feet. This is especially true with his driver. There are people who say that you should avoid this unless you have his flexibility. While there is some truth to that as a wider stance will restrict your hip turn, it can also keep you more centered over the ball. Therefore, if you tend to sway off the ball by shifting your hips away from the target on your backswing, then you may want widen your stance. See how Ishikawa makes a full shoulder turn but his weight stays in the middle of his stance. He does not lean his upper body weight over his back foot. This can simplify his timing and make it can be easier to return to the ball for impact from this position.
The other aspect I love is a very simple and fundamental move away from the golf ball to start his backswing. Watch how solid his arm triangle stays right up to his left arm parallel to the ground. You can get another great view of it here with the down the line view.
Ishikawa - Arm Triangle Down the Line
This is such a great way to start your backswing. It keep you arms and club on the proper path. If you were to bend your right arm at the start then the club will typically bring your club inside too quickly. When that happens you will have to re-route at some point to get your club back online back to the golf ball for great impact.
This also helps create great width in your golf swing. Width=Power. It is physics...the more width the more leverage you have to create power. There are too many players who collapse their triangle early. When this happens their hands end up very close to their body. Ideally you want your hands as far from your body as possible when your left arm is parallel to the ground.
In the last video I simply want to show his tempo. He is no Ernie Els. He is really more of a Nick Price. He is fast. That is obviously okay as he hits a great ball. The key to his success is that he maintains the same rhythm throughout his whole swing. He may be fast at the start, but his transition is fast and so is his follow through.
Players run into trouble when their backswing is slow but their transition and downswing is fast. They can also get into trouble when the backswing is fast and then the transition is slow. Change of speed is great in most team sports, however it can be detrimental to a golf swing. It is incredibly hard to be consistent when your swing changes speed within the same shot.
Ryo Ishikawa Swing Tempo
Once again it was great to see such a wonderful kid play so well in one of golf’s premier events. I am looking forward to his first PGA Tour win (he has won 11 times in Japan). I certainly would love to see in come in 2011 so that he can proudly hand the winner’s cheque over to the people of Japan.