It’s easy to understand how taller players such as Tiger, Phil, Ernie and Dustin Johnson can generate incredible power that leads to big distance off the tee. However, what’s even more impressive is how the smaller players with a much shorter swing arc can generate similar power.
At 5’9″ tall and 160 lbs, Rory McIlroy is not among the larger players on the PGA Tour. However, his fluid swing generates tremendous club head speed that has made him one of the longest hitters in the professional ranks. Most impressive, however, is the sheer beauty and simplicity of the action — powerful and controlled, it is golf’s equivalent of a Porsche engine. He swings at 120mph and the ball leaves the clubhead 55mph faster.
So what was the secret? “It was about getting back to not thinking about it too much and playing like a kid again,” McIlroy said. “Go hit it, find it, hit it again. Hole the putt, go to the next tee. Most of the things that go wrong are the basics — posture, alignment and the normal fundamentals of the golf swing. I like to keep it very simple.”
Tim Barter, a European Tour coach and TV analyst, has seen some good players in his time but few so naturally gifted as McIlroy. “I love the natural nature of his swing,” he said. “It is not manufactured, it’s not made. It has been given to him as a God-given gift. His rhythm is incredible and when his fundamentals are good — and his posture and alignment are in check — he makes as good a backswing as probably anybody in the world.
“Clubface neutrality [neither turned in nor out at the top of the backswing] is probably the big key because it allows him to move the ball both ways at will. If he wants to fade it, he can do it with a little chink in the downswing and if he wants to draw it, he can do the same.”
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