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Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Keys to Jordan's 3-Wood at the 18th

It seems like everybody is trying to explain the keys to hitting that 280-yard 3-wood that Jordan hit onto the 18th green Sunday. Golf Digest is no different; they talked to teacher Michael Jacobs and did a post about it.

What I like about this article is that it gives general advice that will help you with all of your swings, not just some magic key to hit a heroic shot like Jordan.

Jordan after hitting the 3-wood to 18

Matthew Rudy (author of the article) points out that Jordan isn't a power hitter -- hasn't everybody been marveling about that? -- and that he gets himself into contention by:
  • hitting greens and
  • focusing on hitting the best shot he can at the moment (that's all "determination" really is)
But there's an overall key Jacobs points out in Jordan's swing that I've actually mentioned on this blog and in my books before.:
"When he makes the transition into his downswing, he goes into a squat and his body lowers, but the center of his hips and the center of his upper body are still at 90 degrees to the ball."
Teachers often refer to the "Snead Squat" because that was the most prominent move in Snead's downswing. It's the basic lower body move in what we traditionally call "the modern swing," which was the way great players like Snead and Byron Nelson -- and yes, Tom Watson -- start their downswings with their lower bodies. They moved downward more than forward, and they rarely ever "got stuck."

Hogan's swing (which I guess I'll start calling "the postmodern swing" now) turned that move into an exaggerated forward move because he wanted to counteract a hook. As Jacobs notes, by making a downward move Jordan gets a more consistent swing. (And, we should note, Jordan's miss is a hook, the very move Hogan wanted to prevent!)

A downward, somewhat squatty move to start your downswing is a simpler and more consistent way to swing. It eliminates excess body movement that causes you to mis-hit the ball. If you want to try it, it feels almost as if you're falling from the top of your swing but it loads the club shaft just as effectively as that Hogan-style forward drive that causes you to slice.

And if you need proof that it still works, just look at Jordan Spieth.