Ryan Palmer turned pro in 2000 and has had a pretty good start to his career. After playing his college golf at Texas A&M University, he had had three PGA Tour victories and 30 top ten finishes on the PGA Tour. In 13 years on tour he has amassed career earnings of $14M.
In 2013 he had a number of stats that stood out. He was 10th in driving distance with an average of 301.5 yards off the tee, although he was only 145th in accuracy at 57.69% of fairways hit. Despite his inaccuracy off the tee he was 56th in greens in regulation (66.24%), sixth in birdie average (3.97/round), 25th in scoring average (70.167). He was also 38th in strokes gained putting.
All these stats show me that Ryan Palmer has a ton of power and is great at converting birdie opportunities. However, his areas for improvement are in driving accuracy and scrambling (55.63%). He would certainly have more opportunities for victories if he could improve those areas.
Now let's take a look at the strength and weaknesses of Ryan Palmer's swing so we can help you reach your playing goals.
This down the line view of Ryan Palmer's swing is terrific. There are a couple of amazing aspects of his swing to emulate.
The first is the smoothness of his takeaway. He truly has a one piece take away. He does a tremendous job moving his upper body, arms and club all at the same time and the same speed.
I absolutely love his position at the 6 second mark of this video. (Try to pause the video at 6 seconds to see it.) His back is already facing the target and his backswing is only about halfway done. The best indicator of this position is that his left arm is in line with his toes. If a player does not make a good shoulder turn the the arms will move faster than the shoulders and the left arm will cross the chest and cut across the toe line.
If you take a look at his club face at the same 6 second mark, you should see that it is facing the ground. This is a very closed position. I believe this has a negative impact on Ryan Palmer's accuracy. In order to hit the ball square he needs to open the club face at the top of his backswing or hold off his hands through impact. Neither which are easy to do consistently, especially at his club head speed.
It would be better if the toe of his club were pointed a little more towards the sky. You can see the back of his right wrist is bent a little. I would like to see that a little straighter and the base of his right index finger more vertical (on the side of his club) instead of angled over top of the grip.
His backswing is also very Hogan-esque. He keeps his club on a single plane throughout his back and down swing. A wonderful aspect to take note of is at the top of his backswing at the 9 second mark of the video. You can see that his club gets no where near parallel to the ground. This used to be considered a short back swing, but this is the modern day swing. You want a big shoulder turn with a short arm swing.
If you do that you will generate tremendous width and power in your swing. His "short" swing averages over 300 yards off the tee.
There are few of the young guys whose impact position looks like Ryan Palmer's. If you take a look at his impact position he has both feet still on the ground.
This is a great this position for maintaining the level of your hips and your spine angle through impact. If you can do those two things through impact you are going to hit the ball very solidly.
If a player gets up on his toe of his back foot at impact then will push forward towards your golf ball. This will in turn round your lower back and cause you to lose your spine angle. Therefore, it is a great idea to try and keep your back heel close to the ground through impact. This is not to say that the foot should be flat on the ground, but rather the whole foot should be rolling toward the front foot.
You can see with his position that the outside edge of his right foot is just starting to peel off the ground. this is ideal because it means he is still transferring his weight to his left side. If he kept his whole right foot down through and past impact then he be hanging back in his swing which would cause greater inconsistencies.
An area where I believe he could improve his consistency is by clearing his hips more at impact. I would like to see his left hip bone and pocket back from his target line a little more. That would bring his hands a little closer to his body so that he was not reaching so much at impact.
The key area we are going to focus on is his footwork. Please pay particular attention to the finish position of his left foot. Take note of where his weight is on that foot. You will find that his weight is posted up on the heel of his left foot. I really like this position.
There are too many players who get their weight over the toes of their left foot at the finish of their swing. This is typical of a player who does not clear their hips very well. If the lower body gets to the target side and then turns away from the target line your weight will get into your heel. If however your hips only slide to the target but your target side hip bone does not turn away from the target line then your weight will stay in your toes and there will not be enough room for your arms to swing through impact and you will have to really solely on your hands to square the clubface. That unfortunately not a consistent method of hitting the ball square and online.
As mentioned in the impact position section, this is where I believe Ryan Palmer could improve his consistency.
I hope you found this lesson, regarding the strengths and weaknesses of Ryan Palmer's golf swing, helpful for your game. Good luck with your practicing and playing.