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Saturday, April 20, 2013

Charlie Hoffman Takes a Swing at the Heritage

I don't mean that the videos I'm using in today's post were made at the RBC Heritage. I mean that Charlie's making a play for a win there. After two tough days -- the course is tight to begin with, and the wind came up Friday -- the big guy is tied for the lead at -6.

The particular videos I'm using were uploaded to YouTube last July, but they clearly show what I think is making Charlie such a threat down at Hilton Head. First, here are the videos:

What I want you to pay attention to is Charlie's footwork. Looking at the face-on video, you can see that Charlie doesn't slide away from the target during his backswing. If you place your mouse pointer on his trailing hip as he starts away from the ball, you'll see that it stays pretty stable until he starts down. That means that his trailing foot and knee are "braced," to borrow a popular term -- they don't move on the backswing.

Looking at the second video, that stability is even more obvious. See how his head stays at roughly the same height from the time he starts his backswing until he hits the ball? See how his body doesn't move toward or away from the ball during that time? His spine is in roughly the same spot the whole time, just rotating away from and then back toward his target.

A major reason for that his that he doesn't straighten his knees until after the ball is long gone. See how his trailing knee keeps a little bend all the way back to the top of his backswing? Just as importantly, I want you to see that his knee bends a little more as he comes down... but only enough to allow for his trailing hip to turn through. See how his trailing hip looks like it stays at the same height all the way through his swing until after the ball is well gone? That's because his trailing knee stays "soft" -- that is, he doesn't push up or just let it collapse during his swing.

That's part of the key to keeping a consistent swing plane throughout your swing... and a consistent swing plane makes it much easier to hit the ball where you're aiming. That's what Charlie Hoffman does, and it's allowing him to "thread the needle" on those narrow fairways down at the RBC Heritage.

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