Muirfield

Donald maintains his posture throughout; you could iron a shirt on his back it’s so straight!

Exceptional technique at Muirfield

Excitement is building as The Open Championship returns to Muirfield this week and I’ll be picking out some of the best golf swings that will be on show.

The Open has a special feel when we host it here in St Andrews and we can’t wait for 2015 when it returns to the Old Course. Indeed some famous faces have recently taken the opportunity visit us during their preparations for Muirfield. Jason Dufner paid us a visit and took the time to speak with one of our Junior golf schools last week. Jason was a really nice guy and the kids loved him so we’re backing the Duff for this year’s Open!

Duff & Luca

Dufner and Academy Instructor Luca

Muirfield is one of the best courses on The Open rota and this year features fiery fast fairways and very deep rough. Ernie Els was the champion there last time around in 2002, and the South African will be looking to follow up last year’s triumph with a defence on his old stomping ground. However, this may prove tricky as 9 of the last 11 major winners have been first timers. This is great for the game as it proves that top level golf is really well rounded these days where the field of potential major winners is wide open.

In terms of technique, the coaches here at St Andrews Links Golf Academy all have their favourite players, so here are some we expect to see at Muirfield.

Luke Donald
You can’t help to admire his rhythm and balance. From hitting driver to controlled wedge, Donald maintains his posture throughout; you could iron a shirt on his back it’s so straight! This excellent posture and the ability to maintain it is a major factor in why he is so consistent – an area of the game many golfers could learn from.
Not to mention the Englishman’s fantastic wedge game. Watch the way he uses 60-70% of his body weight to lean toward the target from within 100 yards; ensuring downward contact and the crispest of strikes, this allows great distance and spin control.

Nicolas Colsaerts
The ‘Belgian Bomber’ seems to be beginning to show his true talent. The Ryder Cup star had a top 10 finish at Lytham last year and is fast becoming a real fans favourite. I like him because as a tall guy, he manages to maintain his posture throughout his swing instead of stooping to hit the ball, which can become easy to do. With his build comes huge length off the tee, making Colsaerts the longest hitter in Europe this season. However, he is also supremely accurate; hitting more than 75% of greens in regulation in 2012. Interesting to note that Colsaerts is able to produce this great distance through effective technique and not trying to hit the ball too hard with the hands and arms.

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Nicolas Colsaerts

Hunter Mahan
Part of the Sean Foley stable of players, Mahan has a reputation for having one of the most efficient golf swings in the game. Based around rotation of the body and a one-plane action, Mahan is able to produce penetrating iron shots time and time again. The strong muscles around his core area control the movement, allowing for consistency and an action that can withstand the greatest of pressures.

Charl Schwartzel
You need to be an accurate driver of the ball to play Muirfield and avoid the fairway bunkers along with this year’s notably high rough – Charl is your man for this.
Charl is a great example of good basics leading to a sound and consistent swing. He maintains his balance very well with his lower body which helps him keep a compact and controlled arm swing. This is a great lesson for us all as so many players struggle with an over swing. It’s usually due to the lower body becoming unstable and over turning and losing stability as a result. Once you lose your lower body stability then the arms are free to lose control too.

As these players will testify, ultimately there are many ways to get the ball into the hole. The key is to blend sound technique with your natural tendencies to create a well-rounded style. This is where the role of a good coach comes in as they can identify which parts of your swing need immediate attention in order to improve.

Anyway, enjoy the feast of golf on show this weekend and keep an eye out for those exceptional techniques.

 

Words by Blair Cross, Academy Instructor

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