I wrote a few years back that Rory McIlroy might have discovered the key to increasing power through technique when he was spotted letting his leading heel come up during his back swing, but it turned out not to be a permanent thing.
Now, it seems he might be back on a right track, with his apparent discovery that the hips and shoulder are connected.
At least, that’s what I would gather from the Sean Martin article on PGATour.com regarding some swing changes he’s making following the Masters (thanks to M.F. for forwarding the link):
Days after another unsuccessful attempt to complete the career Grand Slam, Rory McIlroy watched video of the shots he struggled with at Augusta National. That helped him identify swing faults that he fixed in the fortnight between the Masters and the Wells Fargo Championship, the tournament where McIlroy has achieved unparalleled success in his PGA TOUR career.
The changes to McIlroy’s address have allowed him to “neutralize” his ball flight, i.e. curve it less. By getting more hinge in his hips, McIlroy was able to steepen his shoulder turn. That kept the club from getting too far behind him on the backswing.
“I was relying a lot on timing,” he said. “I was relying a lot on upper-body rotation, sort of out of sync a little bit. … I was coming up out of my posture and falling back on my heels.”
I think this is a good change, of course, but I also find it incredible that the world’s best golfers are still in the dark regarding proper biomechanics when it comes to the most important facet of their trade – the full swing.
If an amateur golfer who doesn’t have much time in the game said to me, “I just found out that you get a better and deeper shoulder turn by letting the hips turn naturally,” I would say, “you’ve just figured out something that even the players and instructors haven’t yet clued into!!”
It seems that they’re still rubbing sticks together to start fires. Yes, the hips turn the shoulders on a natural and proper golf pivot, and the shoulders follow the hips on the down swing as well, as I wrote about in the above link with the below gif to illustrate my point:
The problem with the swing changes I see on the PGA Tour is that, even when the changes are for the good, and more in tune with proper mechanics, they are usually short-term fiddling to try to fix a current problem, and not long-term changes that are understood by the swinger making them or the instructor/coach advising them.
Without a proper understanding of how the body works, it is a never-ending game of trying little changes here and there. I see good changes being made, like when Justin Rose was letting his leading heel come up for while – but then I check back or happen to catch the swinger on TV and see that the positive change went away.
Let’s hope that Rory actually learned that the hips power the golf swing, not the lower back, and that he’ll get deeper into proper biomechanics and not just dabble in a change that actually happens to make sense!
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