I knew Sandra Gal (pronounced Sahn'-dra Gahl) was from Germany. But before the LPGA broadcast on Sunday, I didn't know that both she and Martin Kaymer were born in Düsseldorf or that they grew up playing amateur golf together. Martin is one year older and turned pro early, while Sandra decided to attend the University of Florida where she was an All-American twice. There were a lot of expectations for her when she finally turned pro.
According to Judy Rankin during Golf Channel's Sunday coverage of the Kia Classic, Sandra's biggest improvement has been mental rather than physical. When you look at her swing, it's easy to see why. This is a very solid swing that defies the need for improvement.
The first of these videos is from the 2010 State Farm LPGA Classic. It's just a good full-speed shot of her swing:
This one's from the 2011 Honda LPGA Thailand. It has several slo-mo shots of her swing from different angles:
If you compare the face-on views to Tiger's original swing when he first came out on Tour in the Golf Digest Tiger swing sequence, you'll see a lot of similarities.
Finally, this slo-mo's from the 2010 LPGA Tour Championship. The angle is slightly more down-the-line than the one in the last clip:
What can you learn from this swing that you can take to the course and apply immediately? Well, it's simple and balanced... but most of all, it's very free and relaxed. Does Sandra look as if she's overly worried about where the ball is going? Not to me! She just lets it fly. In an age where we worry way too much about perfect mechanics, Sandra's swing is a breath of fresh air.
Sandra says that Martin Kaymer's success has given her something to shoot for, and her win at the Kia gave her a nice boost, vaulting her from #100 in the Rolex Rankings all the way up to #44. Since she's proven she can stare down a top player like Jiyai Shin and keep her wits about her, this swing just may take her on a quick trip to the top.
After all, the women do have a major this week. Wasn't that what jump-started her friend Martin's rise?