You can hear it time and again. People romanticising about the good old times of Tiger Woods. The times when Butch Harmon was his coach, the Tiger-Mania was at large and the man himself seemed unstoppable raking in one major after the other. Let’s take a look at his swing from 2001. Many people say that his swing was the best during that time period. So obviously there must be a lot to learn here, don’t you think?
Address Position and TakeawayTiger sets up to the ball with a fairly wide stance to support the speed and power he’s generating with his swing. He stays with his upper body slightly behind the ball. His setup somehow reminds me of how Rory McIlroy addresses the ball today. The takeaway
is typical for the Butch Harmon time. He gets his arms and hands as far away from his body as possible while staying on the target line. The thought is that a wider arc provides more distance to generate clubhead speed. You know the old physics formula (velocity=distance divided by time) right? Low and slow are also words that you can hear quite often with his takeaway. You can see that Tiger controls the club upwards into a position which gives him the opportunity to rip it on the down swing. He calls that finding the slot in his book “Tiger woods – how i play golf book”.
On the top of his backswing Tiger gets his club into parallel position and coils his upper and lower body for maximum power. Take a look at how stable he is with his head, hips and shoulders. There’s no sliding motion yet. Tiger forms the famous ‘K’ with his legs. I think there’s one key takeaway for everybody no matter your skill level. The power is stored in the backswing but generated in the downswing. If you are deliberate and wind back in a controlled way you have way better chances to hit the ball solidly and squarely. Many people who want to crush it like Tiger Woods did in those years jerk their club back too fast which gets them into difficult positions for their downswing and deranges their rhythm. If you try to control it back and accelerate through the downswing you are on the right track.
Downswing and ImpactBecause of his enormous hip, shoulder and arm speed Tigers downswing is just crushing the ball. You can really see how he’s deliberately accelerating through the ball. Important to note are his sliding hip motion against his stable left side and how he’s “shaking hands with the target” on his way to his finish position. That’s another move from Butch Harmon. The extension of the arms you saw during the backswing you can see again in the follow through.
Finish and ConclusionTiger Woods finish is the result of his fast paced swing. His arms swing through around his body and he’s standing strong with all of his weight on his left leg. Take a look at how much distance he’s travelled towards the target without losing balance or going past his left leg.
So here are some key lessons you can try for yourself:
- Wind up fully during your backswing but don’t jerk your club. Be controlled and precise.
- Don’t shift your hips during your backswing. Keep your posture (legs, hips, shoulders, spineangle).
- Accelerate through the ball with your downswing and shake hands with the target.