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Tuesday, May 15, 2012

If You Want to Swing Like Kuch...

Yeah, I know you're curious. Matt Kuchar's swing looks so flat, yet it works so consistently.

I've done posts about Matt's swing before. In 2009 I wrote a brief piece called Matt Kuchar Can “Flat-Out” Play, then added a fuller look at his swing in 2010 with It's Not Over Till the Flat Man Swings. But I have a feeling that we'll be hearing even more about him if this win is the breakthrough it appears to be, so today I'll add a new one.

This is a Golf Digest Tips Plus video about his swing. It makes a good point, but it leaves something out which I'll add after the video:

It's important to understand that your left shoulder (right shoulder if you're a lefty) moves down when you coil your shoulders, not parallel to the ground. That's true in virtually any swing you might make, not just a Kuchar copy. And the tip about being able to wiggle your toes will help you make sure your hip moves back and doesn't make a slide to the side.

But Kucher's swing is MUCH flatter than Peter Morrice is demonstrating. Here's a link to a Golf Digest swing sequence for him. The link will take you to photo #14 in the sequence, which is the top of his backswing as seen in a down-the-line view. See how much flatter his arms are than Peter's in the Golf Tips video? Matt's swing, by his own description, feels more like a baseball swing. The description on the photo may say "Classic one-planer: Left arm on the same angle as the shoulders," but you can see that his left arm is clearly WAY below his shoulders. This puts his right elbow very close to his side, which might feel cramped to some of you.

As I pointed out in my 2009 post about his swing, Kuchar is 6' 4" so this relatively flat swing plane is more like a 5' 10" player's "proper" swing. If you're shorter than Kuch, this swing will make it harder to get a steeper swing, the kind you need when you dig balls out of the rough. But if you do it right, it can be a good way to develop a draw and could be especially useful off the tee. You want to swing upward there anyway, so a flatter swing isn't a big problem.

This Tips Plus video will help you understand the basics of a good shoulder coil, which are the same for almost any swing. But if you want to give Matt's swing a try, make sure you get that low arm position correct. Matt's accuracy comes from the fact that his right elbow is so close to his side that he can't help but have a more consistent swing plane. It's an extreme application of Hogan's connection principle, but it works.

I can't guarantee that you'll win a PLAYERS trophy, though.

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