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Tuesday, May 31, 2016

A Key Move from Ariya Jutanugarn

Here's a simple tip from Golf Digest and New York teacher Michael Jacobs. How does Ariya Jutanugarn create so much clubhead speed? It's actually very simple.

Why did it catch my attention? Because I've suggested this on numerous occasions, but Jacobs states it in a different way.

Ariya Jutanugarn

Many instructors tell you that you need to make sure your lower body makes a noticeable move to start the downswing, creating extra separation between your upper and lower body. In contrast, I have often suggested that weekend players try to feel that their upper and lower bodies start down at the same time.

Here's how Jacobs describes the move:
"Most players change the relationship between their upper chest and stomach area all through the swing by lunging, leaning, tilting and hunching over. But when you look at Ariya, from her ribcage down to her hips is a consistent cylinder throughout the swing. She doesn't change, and that gives her a clean transfer of energy. It's also way easier on her back." 
Now Jacobs recommends keeping this upper/lower body relationship from address all the way through your swing. I think that's a bit extreme and can create too much lower body movement for some people... but that's better than the other extreme with an overactive lower body. (If you want to see somebody who does it the way Jacobs suggests, Rocco Mediate appears to do so. He won a major this weekend, so you could do worse than copy him!)

I'd like to see you get some separation between your shoulder coil and hip turn during your backswing -- what Jim McLean calls "the X-Factor" -- and then try to maintain that angle until you hit the ball. This may pull your lead heel off the ground a little at the top of your swing, or maybe not; it depends on how flexible you are.

But if you try to feel as if you start everything moving down at the same time, you'll tend to keep that shoulder/hip angle difference until just before you hit the ball -- it's a natural movement for most folks. Then the angle will 'close' as the club's momentum pulls your upper body through impact and into the finish.

Look, it works for Ariya. She's only 5'7" tall yet Jerry Foltz says she can hit the ball further than Lexi Thompson, who's about 5 inches taller. It's a simple thing to try, and it should help your accuracy as well as your distance.