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Monday, September 5, 2011

How the Great Dane Retrieves a Trophy

The Limerick Summary is delayed until Tuesday by the Monday finish on the PGA, so today I'm taking a quick look at the swing of a winner on another tour this weekend.

Thomas Björn won the Omega European Masters in Switzerland this weekend, his 3rd win of the season (only Luke Donald has matched him) and his 2nd win in as many weeks. Many years ago he picked up the nickname "the Great Dane" -- he's from Denmark -- and his career has been full of ups and downs. Through it all, despite a few years of poor play he has maintained the swing we're going to look at today.

And I meant it when I said "a quick look." There's very little footage of his swing posted at YouTube, and the video I'm including here is the only slo-mo I could find. But it's enough to show you what impresses me about his swing.

There is nothing particularly remarkable about Thomas's swing. In fact, that's exactly what I find so remarkable! Thomas is over 6' 2", a tall golfer even by today's standards, and yet his swing is so simple that anybody can copy it.

Although you can't see it from this angle, Thomas has a fairly classic swing a la Tom Watson. He takes the club back with quite a bit more hip turn and "left heel lift" than most players, then moves his hips toward the target to start his downswing. You don't even have to be very flexible to do that!

What makes his swing so great is its simple rhythm, There's no attempt to generate extra power by exaggerating his hip move, or by jerking the club down to start the swing. His swing generates power because its tempo is fairly quick, as you can tell from this video of his swing at full speed:

Watch the Great Dane's swing a few times and see if you can't pick up that smooth rhythm yourself. You may not retrieve any trophies, but you won't have to retrieve so many balls out of the woods either.

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