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Friday, November 24, 2017

Shanshan Feng's Change of Direction (Video)

This Morning Drive video comes from just before the CME Group Tour Championship. Travis Fulton talks about how Shanshan hits the ball so accurately.

Many of you are trying to get that "reroute" move he mentions, but you're having trouble. Let's see if I can't help you out.

First, let's get one thing straight. Travis says Shanshan doesn't hit the ball very far. Shanshan is 5'7" tall and drives the ball 250 yards on average. Admit it -- most of you, even you men out there, would kill to consistently drive the ball 250 yards AND hit the fairway 81% of the time. (Yes, that's from her LPGA stats page.) I'm REALLY getting tired of TV teachers acting like you have to hit the ball 300 yards or you're "short." And given that she beat the "long ballers" THREE TIMES in 2017, length might be a bit overrated.

Alright, rant over. Let's get to that downswing move...

If you check out the video around the 1:09 mark, you'll see Travis has stopped her swing where her lead arm is parallel to the ground. He points out that the club is moving more vertically for her than for most players... but he doesn't tell you why.

I want you to look at her elbows. See how you can draw a straight line along her lead arm and it will cross her trailing elbow as well? That's because she's doing something many great players (like Annika) do -- during her backswing she's trying to push the handle of the club as far from her trailing shoulder as she can for as long as she can. As a result, she's keeping both arms relatively straight for a long time.

Now you don't want to get tense while doing this. As you can see, her trailing elbow is still bent a bit at that 1:09 position. Your trailing elbow is going to bend some as you turn. But you don't want it to be a BIG bend. Rather, you just want it to flex a bit as you swing up. That's the reason her club swings on a more upright path -- with both elbows fairly straight, her wrists hinge upward in a more upright plane. It just happens that way.

Then Travis stops it again at around 1:25 in the video, just after she starts down. He's talking about how she "shallows out the club." But take a good look at that freeze frame. Surprise! Her trailing elbow is now a bit lower than her lead arm! That's why the club is now on a shallower plane. When her trailing elbow bends, her trailing hand pulls the club a bit sideways and it rotates her lead arm at the shoulder joint.

Just like the "push away" move on the backswing, you don't need to exaggerate this move. If you just relax your trailing elbow a bit as you start down, you'll create that slight shallowing move naturally. In addition, it will increase your wrist cock a little at the top so you don't straighten your wrists out too soon in your downswing.

This is something you'll have to practice, simply because your tendency will be to bend your trailing elbow too much. It doesn't take all that much movement at your elbow to get a big movement at the clubhead. Just start off by swinging a bit more slowly to get the feel for that slight relaxation at the top that will shallow out the club shaft, then gradually speed up to your normal speed.