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Tuesday, April 17, 2012

The Quiet Swing of King Louis

Louis Oosthuizen is finally getting some attention this week after having the "blip" round before the Masters that caused him to finish 3rd when he was expected to win, then finishing runner-up in the Masters, and then traveling 30 hours to win this past week on the European Tour.

Of course, Louis has proven he's mentally tough. But everybody loves that syrupy swing.

I found this little clip from the 2010 Open Championship that he won by 7 strokes. It's short, but it has a swing breakdown by Tom Watson. It's clearly worth 42 seconds of your time.

Tom points out several things Louis does well but I'd like to point out a couple of things that I think are important.

The first is that Louis uses an early wrist cock. (That means his wrists are fully cocked when his lead arm is parallel to the ground.) Although I frequently talk about using a late wrist cock -- primarily because I think it's a greatly underestimated technique these days -- there is certainly nothing wrong with an early cock and Louis is a great model to copy.

The other is simply how quiet his body is during his swing. By "quiet" I mean that there are no jerks or lunges when he swings. His lower body doesn't slide back away from the target on his backswing, nor does he lunge toward the target during his downswing. If you check his position at the :13 mark -- the top of his backswing -- you'll see that he's in a position very close to his address except that his hands are above his head. ;-)

At that point he moves toward the target very slightly -- no big slide toward the target. His hips are turning and they never get past the outside of his lead foot -- that is, his lead leg is vertical when he hits the ball.

Simply put, Louis doesn't lunge away from or toward his target at any point in his swing. He puts all his effort into turning his shoulders and hips since they deliver the clubhead to the ball.

Many of you are trying to use your big muscles to power the swing and that's a perfectly acceptable way to hit the ball. Just make sure those big muscles are creating rotary power and not mrely pushing your lower body back and forth. All that does is change your body tilt, which changes your swing plane and sends the ball to places you don't want to visit.

Louis Oosthuizen is a quiet man with a quiet swing to match. Swing like King Louis -- don't waste power in your swing with excessive movement.


  1. Mike,

    On the range last week, there was a father telling his son what parts of his swing to change to be more like Bubba. "You need to spin out on that foot."
    On every swing....

  2. Hmmmm... are we witnessing the seeds of a 'Bubba backlash' where parents try to create the next Bubba and their children quit the game in frustration? Only time will tell...