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Saturday, March 21, 2015

An Interesting Take on Yani's Swing

If you haven't peeked at the video section over at, you're missing some unique materials. I found this recently-added video from Golfing World that looks at why Yani has had such a precipitous fall from the top of the world rankings.

I found Simon Holmes's analysis very helpful in a number of ways. First, here's the video:

First, he notes that Yani got much of her length from learning how to hit the ball low in the wind. She delofts the club face by the way she moves, which causes the ball to come out lower. She does that by moving hard to her lead foot during her downswing, and that causes her to lean the shaft forward.

However -- and this is what you can learn from this video -- that move works against her in her wedge game. The same move that gives her a lot of distance makes it very hard to control how far she hits her wedges, especially under pressure, and so she doesn't get the number of birdie chances you might expect from a long hitter.

This also helps explain why she's getting better lately but still seems erratic. On the days she figures out how to hit her wedges close, she goes low. But on the other days, she often struggles to break par.

Note what Holmes says about midway through the video: "Sometimes a strength in one area of your game is a weakness in another." This is something you should remember when you try to improve an area of your game -- changes made to improve one aspect of your game may actually hurt other parts that you already do well. I think is part of the reason the pros sometimes try to make changes and it backfires on them, such as when Luke Donald recently went after better driving and ended up hurting his short game.

Sometimes you can improve a troublesome part of your game with a simple strategy change. Unless you have fundamental problems with your swing, it's usually best to try approaching the problem from a strategic angle before you start tinkering with your mechanics.

Remember: Length isn't everything in golf, so don't expect it to solve all your problems.