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Wednesday, March 30, 2011

More Sandra Gal: Short Game

In yesterday's comments Court observed:
"Funny thing about Gal, the shorter the clubs get, the less relaxed she looks. As good as that last wedge on Sunday was, she looked...well...girlish. More of an awkward looking slash than the flowing wood she hit off the tee."
I hunted up some footage of her short shots from Sunday to check it out. Is her short game really that different?

Court may have a point. And it's possible that some of it was simply the stress of trying to win her first tournament; when asked later about whether she struggled coming in, she simply said yes, she had to dig deep. But I did see a difference beyond just Sunday's swings, and I believe the cause was actually mentioned in the broadcast from the previous week.

Let's jump back to the LPGA Founders Cup, second round. Skip ahead to the 3:10 mark in the clip, then listen to Phil Parkin's comments over the next 10-15 seconds about her putting stroke:

"That is a really slow backswing with almost a pause when she gets to the top. So it will be interesting if that works under severe pressure." If you look at the clips I included in yesterday's post about Sandra's full swing, you'll see there's no pause in her driver swing.

Now look at this short game tip video she did for Golf Channel some time back:

See the pause at the top of the short swing? Here she is again hitting a short shot from the rough at 14 at the Kia on Sunday:

Again, there's another pause. And here's some footage of several players from the last round. Gal's footage starts at around the 2:57 mark. Note that there are a few short iron shots and a driver swing in this clip; note the change of direction in each of them:

So that's probably why Sandra's short iron swings look less fluid than her driver swings -- that little pause at the top of her backswing interrupts that otherwise beautiful swing of hers. But it certainly proves one of the big points I like to make on this blog: You don't need a perfect swing to post a good score in this game.

At least we can answer Phil Parkin's question now. Yes, Phil, it does work under severe pressure. It works very well indeed. ;-)


  1. Yes Mike and Phil, it does seem to work very well under pressure. I, in fact, have a golf buddy that also has a hesitation at the top of his swing before he pulls the trigger. Again, he doesn't do that with his driver but, in his case, he's trying to kill it. He explains that with his shorter clubs, irons, he kinda locks his hip into a trigger position and then lets it fly. You definitely don't need a perfect swing to post a good score. I played with a much older Gentleman a few months back and even though he could not drive as far as me and he had a most wicked swing but, at the end of the day, he beat me by three strokes.

  2. Great work keep it coming, best blog on earth

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