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Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Fly It Like the J-Byrd

There's not a lot of video footage of Jonathan Byrd around -- especially recent footage. J-Byrd has been making some swing changes in the last couple of years, and I couldn't find any recent face-on footage at all. However, somebody did post a slo-mo from this week at the Hyundai (with Faldo's commentary):



There are just two things I want to point out about Jonathan's swing; it's so simple that it's hard to miss what he's doing! First, note that his swing plane is pretty flat. It's not as flat as Matt Kuchar's, which would put it below his shoulder, but it's right on his shoulder line. That's flatter than most players, and it's because he uses the rotation of his body to make his swing -- there's no arm manipulation at all. He just hangs on to the club and unwinds his body.

The other thing is something Faldo points out -- namely, that he starts everything together on his downswing. There's no effort made to lag his hands or make sure his lower body starts first. (Your lower body has to start first; that's basic physics.) I've been recommending this to any of you who are having problems tilting or sliding your lower body when you start down. Here's proof of how well it works; J-Byrd only drives it about 275 yards, which is right at the Tour average. Nevertheless, he won at Kapalua, generally considered a long-hitter's course.

This other video is about two years old, but it's the most recent thing I could find that gives you any sort of view that isn't down-the-line. I don't know how early this is in his swing changes, but you can still see how balanced and "together" he is when he swings:



I hope you're beginning to notice how competitive players with simple, seemingly less powerful swings can be against the big hitters. You will hear the commentators say that if you want to lower your scores, you need to work on your short game. That's only true if you can get on or near the green in regulation. If you can't, you need to work on your long game first. A simple swing like Jonathan Byrd's can make it much easier to get it close... where a good short game can make a difference.

4 comments:

  1. This is definitely something to work on. Whenever I try to feel like I'm trying to start the downswing with my lower body, I get to ahead of myself and pull it to the left. I have more success when I don't think about it. Like you said it going to happen anyway.

    His swing is so effortless. I want to see video of his swing with an iron. I would love to see what his impact position looks like with that kind of body rotation. I'm sure it won't be long before one of the golf magazines does a feature on him with a win late last season and this one to start off 2011.

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  2. Well, here's a Golf Digest article Byrd did back in November 2009 for a start:

    http://www.golfdigest.com/golf-instruction/2009-11/jonathan_byrd_work_the_ball

    And while the second video above is a long iron, here's another video at YouTube that looks like a mid-iron:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4DKtKa4xjDo

    This one shows his practice setup. And the second video in the play sequence is a short iron.

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  3. No prob, Dex. Hope they help!

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