Hello A Swingers. As summer rapidly approaches, not only can we enjoy its lengthening days perfect for hopefully not so long rounds of golf, but also the opportunity it affords us to watch many great golf tournaments on television, or better yet, in person, when one of the major Tours comes to town. I’m excited to be working with so many talented LPGA players this week at the inaugural KPMG Women’s PGA Championship at Westchester CC, NY.
I’d like to speak to you in this blog about some of the golfers…playing today, for the most part, but also a few from seasons past…who really execute and display excellent A Swing characteristics. By observing their swings you can learn a lot about your own A Swing. I’ll call these pros, with a little playfulness here, “The A Swing All-Stars,” and discuss them with the caveat that although they all present solid A Swing traits none of them swing precisely to the A Swing Book’s ideal, or, what one might with caution call, its “perfect” model.
A complete list of true A Swing All-Stars would be a long one, but conceding to the space of the blog we have here, I’ll select a few whose swings display strong A Swing core values.
I’ll start with two very young but immensely talented A Swing All Stars whom I’m proud to call my personal students. They are 18-year old Lydia Ko and 23 year-old Byeong-hun An, respectively the number one woman player in the world and a rising star in the men’s game who this past May won the European Tour’s prestigious BMW PGA Championship.
We basically and initially worked A Swing elements into Lydia Ko’s swing in order to help her get her clubface more open at the top of her swing, and so she could swing the club down more from the inside. The goal was for her to draw the ball and gain some distance, especially off the tee, and, in addition, to overall better synchronize her swing. Since we began working together, not much longer than a year and a half ago, she has moved up to the number one ranked player in the world, won 5 (of her 7) LPGA tournaments and tied Annika Sorenstam’s LPGA record of 29 consecutive rounds under par. I’d say Lydia gets an A for her A Swing work. When watching her swing, pay attention (and enjoy!), the wonderfully free and “alive” energy of her club as she releases it with a controlled yet abandoned lash into the ball. That’s Lydia and The A Swing at their best.
Speaking about “smoothness” make an effort to observe when you can the A Swing of young Byeon-hun An (who goes by Ben An), with whom I’ve worked since he was fourteen. I’m sure you’ll find its rhythmic smoothness and effortless generation of power truly impressive. That element of efficient and simply applied power is a characteristic to which all A Swings and Swingers ought to aspire. I call it maximum power with minimum effort.
Now Ben like Lydia moves his hands and arms initially to the inside then swings the club up on a steep plane in textbook A Swing fashion. However, his club crosses the line just a little at the top, versus pointing decidedly across it. What can’t be seen though, is how by working on the A Swing Ben transitioned and transformed his swing from one with a very laid off top-of-the-swing position, with a shut clubface and his arched or bowed left wrist to boot, into one with far easier to repeat alignments and motions. Again, our work on his swing proves that by moving toward the swing’s ideal model (without literally “attaining” it) golfers can very realistically expect to see significant improvements in their swings and games.
Now, having said that and speaking of the A Swing’s model, I highly recommend that you go out of your way to watch Simin Feng, a Chinese player and a rookie on the LPGA Tour. Though not well known yet, I would say that her swing displays as close a swing to The A Swing book’s model as any player’s with whom I, or my staff of instructors have worked so far.
People know Jim Furyk for his unusual looking swing, but a close observation of it on T.V. (or better, of course in person) shows not only his very visible plane shift from steep to swallow as his backswing transitions into his downswing, but also the tremendous quality of synchronization it displays through the impact zone. Swinging in sync forms the nucleus around which all of the A Swing fundamentals revolve, and Jim links his arm swing with his rotating core (roughly the torso) in his downswing as well as anyone playing today.
Finally, a couple of A Swing All Stars of an era past (though not that far in the past), the sadly recently departed Calvin Peete and the great and ever charismatic Greg Norman. I strongly encourage you to look at the many examples of Calvin’s swing on YouTube and notice just how distinctly his swing articulates virtually all of the A Swing’s core values, shapes, movements and traits. Hopefully this list is beginning to sound sounding familiar to you, but look for his flat/upright backswing; the establishment of his distinct “V plane” or movement of the shaft’s roughly “V-shaped” angles as it swings to the top then transitions into the downswing; his compact swing with his left arm under the plane of his shoulders at the top, and his swing’s overall quality of efficient and effortless motion.
Calvin Peete was pin point accurate with his driver, one of the straightest shooters ever, but he wasn’t a long hitter. I’ve always said that what I’m looking for is a “long hitting Calvin Peete.” A friend of mine at one point suggested that this sounds a lot like Greg Norman, and he may be right! Again, research and watch Greg’s powerful swing…especially with the driver. His is not a text book A Swing by any means, but the most distinctly “A Swinger” part of it comes in the clearly visible crossing of the (ball-to-target) line of his club at the top of his swing. That’s a defining marker of all A Swings, by the way, which is why in blog #3 I listed some of the other great and well-known players whose swing’s cross the line at the top. They’re all A Swing All Stars, or again, like Greg Norman, A “Swingerish” All Stars for sure, and I’ll repeat that list here: Jack Nicklaus, Bobby Jones, Tiger Woods (during his amateur and early Tour years) Tom Watson, Kenny Perry, Jay Haas, Davis Love III, Johnny Miller, Seve Ballesteros, Craig Stadler, Fred Couples, Larry Nelson, Julius Boros, Hale Irwin, Nancy Lopez and Lorena Ochoa, again, among others.
So the question with which I want to close this blog and ask you personally is…Will and/or when will you cross the line?
If you’ve tried the A Swing and have a comment or observation please add to the growing list of testimonials at A Swing Testimonials or through any of our social media channels.