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Sunday, June 12, 2011

Remembering Payne... and His Swing

With U.S. Open week coming up, you'll be seeing a lot of "remembrances" of Payne Stewart since two of his three majors were U.S. Opens. I'm getting an early start, and I think you'll like this. Essentially, it's three videos featuring Payne.

First, here's an early but not-so-serious appearance of Payne and his swing coach Chuck Cook on GC's old Academy Live program that was hosted by Peter Kessler:

Of course, Payne's swing was legendary for its smoothness. Here's a clip of him hitting a tee shot, shown at several speeds. The two things you should really take from this are how upright his swing is (that's part of what makes his swing more "classic" than "modern") and how little effort it seems to require, despite the fact that Payne moved it out there pretty good:

And finally -- and I'll admit, I'm pretty stoked to have found this -- here's a 10-minute lesson given by Payne on how to hit long irons. Although most of us don't use long irons anymore, the lesson will help you hit both fairway woods and long hybrids. The lesson covers everything from setup to shaping shots to controlling the trajectory of the ball:

I hope to come back to this in a later post, but Payne's approach is so simple that it doesn't need a lot of explanation. Bear in mind that, because Payne's swing is a classic style and also a bit idiosyncratic, some of his instruction may sound a bit different from what you've heard. But you'll also hear a lot of stuff that's familiar, especially from my posts -- things like the one-piece takeaway and keeping your hands in front of you.

I hope you enjoy these clips. Modern golf might look a little different if we hadn't lost Payne so soon... and I'm not talking about "plus fours," either.

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