I happened to come across an Instagram sequence of Lexi Thompson’s driver swing this morning while getting ready to resume the work on the “MCS Golf Swing” eBook which I think will be completed sometime this week (update emails have gone out), and she only has 2 swing issues that I can see.
One is the the planted-heel/restricted-hip back swing pivot which is putting a good deal of twisting forces into her lower and middle back (Lumbar and Thoracic) regions, which is an injury and longevity concern.
The other is the lack of trailing foot release through impact to the finish, which is a consistency issue, but overall a very powerful swing action.
The power is evident in her Top-10 ranking of Driving Average at 274.5 yards (7th), while the consistency issue shows up in her 77th ranking of 64.29% of fairways hit.
I’ve taken still sequences to show both the swing issues below:
Lexi, at 6′ or 1.83 m tall, is only 23 years old and the feminine gender has more flexibility than does the masculine, so she’s generating pretty good speed and power even with the planted-heel swing.
Compare this with the 6’4″ or 1.93 m tall Matt Kuchar who is a superb athlete (very skilled tennis player in addition to being a professional golfer) and yet who is only generating 275.5 yards in average driving distance!
I’ve covered that aspect of Kuchar’s very short driving distances due to his planted-heel back swing which robs him of any leveraging power due to the hips staying stuck over the leading foot going back in order to create a full hip turn with the restricted hips:
This is also something Tiger Woods was doing when he injured his back years ago, and which compared to Ben Hogan’s back swing top position, make both TW and MK look way out of whack:
Back to Lexi – you’ll find that many young players and women are flexible enough to get away with the planted heel and still be able to get speed and power out of their swings (example: young Tiger Woods) this until they age and start to lose that pliable aspect, at which point changes are needed or injuries begin to occur.
Right now, Lexi has a great “Drop & Pop” sequence into impact – then just watch that awesome release into and through the bottom – no “holding on” with the wrist angle there!
She’s obviously not a student of a certain swing guru who would call that action “a little flippy…”
It’s a full and free release, and that’s a superb “3 To 9” action, and notice she doesn’t pin that trailing elbow and try to turn into impact with it jammed there – this is a great release action:
The only issues are the failure to release that trailing foot, which combined with the restricted hips on the back swing, force her to release the leading foot through impact in order to keep the hips turning and to avoid injuring the leading knee and hip.
So, this hopping at impact, once again, is not “using the ground,” because you can’t use the ground when you’re not in contact with it, and is the result of the two things I’ve mentioned above.
This is not necessarily going to be an injury risk, though I don’t like to see it because you could incur injury in a freak accident if your leading shoe grabs and doesn’t turn, or if you don’t time that hopping release, both of which things could create an injury, but most likely not.
My concern would be in the over-twisting of the back, and what that might entail for Lexi as she gets older and loses some of her natural mobility.
Time will tell, of course, and I’m back to the book!
Back Pain or Back Injury Swinging a Golf Club?
Lacking Power, Speed, Distance and or Consistency?
Need A Swing That Is More Easily Maintained?
If You Answered “Yes” To Any Of The Above Questions, The Answer Is In The Formula For The Golf Swing: