PGA Tour Pro Phil Rory McIlroy is certainly one of the best young talents on tour. Some have said he may be the next European to win a major championship. Just imagine the excitement if his first major was to be an Open Championship victory.
Have you noticed that the trend in most sports is that the athletes are getting bigger and stronger? The trend has gone that way in golf, yet the next wave of young players are all less than 6’ and weigh less than 180 pounds. Rory McIlroy is listed at 5’10” and 160 pounds. So, do you need to be tall and strong to hit the ball far? Well…he averages 296 yards off the tee which is above the PGA Tour average. So I would say NO!
I love this camera angle. How often do we get to see a quality player swing from this view? It is awesome. Since it is in slow motion we can focus on three distinct moves that we can all learn from. Let’s take a closer look at McIlroy’s swing to see what makes him such a promising player on the PGA Tour.
1) The first thing to watch is how he gets his back to the target. You will see his full back. This generates a lot of easy power when his swing unwinds into the ball. Most people think you need to have crazy flexibility to do that. Although it helps, it is not necessary. If you are lacking flexibility, let your hips rotate a little more than Rory does and that will help you make a fuller turn. The key is getting your back to the target. If you don’t you will end up using your arms to much and you lose both power and accuracy.
2) I want you to watch very closely at the top of his backswing. Watch how as he reaches the top of his backswing that his arms stop moving when his shoulders and back stop turning. This is beautiful to see. This leads to much better consistency. A lot of players will let their arms keep moving when there body has stopped turning. They think this will get them more power. Unfortunately for them it does not work that way. They would be much better off if they kept their swing shorter. The key to power is to combine a big body turn with a short arm swing. Try to match your arm swing with your body turn on your backswing to gain a lot of consistency.
3) When you watch the PGA Tour on TV you will often hear the commentator’s remark on how well a player maintains their spine angle during their swing. Watch Rory for a great example of what the spine angle means. In his address position look at his upper legs, hips and back. You can see how he creates such a sharp angle.
Now watch his whole swing. You can see it very well from this angle as to how he retains that angle throughout his whole backswing, downswing, and into his follow through. A lot of players get in trouble by losing that angle at impact. Usually that starts at address by rounding your back. You have to make sure that at address you stick your butt backwards. That will keep you back straight at address and help you maintain your angle through your swing.
Now during your downswing a great image to have is trying to keep your shoulders parallel to the ground through impact. This does not actually happen, but many players drop their rear shoulder toward the ground trying to hit the ball higher in the air. It causes them to lose their angle and miss hit their shots. By trying to keep their shoulders level it will help avoid that problem and it will actually help maintain your spine angle.