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Sunday, February 7, 2016

A Quick Look at Hana Jang's Swing

Yesterday Hana Jang got her first LPGA victory at the Coates Golf Championship, an event she lost in a playoff last season after Monday qualifying just to get in the event. In fact, she was runner-up in four LPGA events in 2015. But she was already a major star on the KLPGA with six wins, two of which were KLPGA majors.

And Jang is quickly becoming a star in the US as well, in large part because she's just a fun person. You can learn a little about her in this bio from the Seoul Sisters blog. And according to this ESPN article, she learned to speak English by watching animated Disney flicks. You gotta love somebody who thinks outside the box!

But while Jang isn't tall -- she's only 5'5" -- she still busts the ball a long way. According to her LPGA stats, last year was her shortest year (255 yards, possibly because she was Monday qualifying for so many events) while she typically averages 10-15 yards farther. How does she do it and still hit so many fairways (near 80% most years)?

Here's a YouTube video from 2013, her best year on the KLPGA.

I've grabbed a frame from this video showing a split view halfway down in her backswing, just as she enters the impact zone. I've also grabbed a similar frame from this 2015 video at the CME Group Tour Championship. Here are the two photos:

Hana Jang 2013 swing

Hana Jang 2015 swing

I've isolated this position because I've written about it before as part of a four-post series I did between 11-25-15 and 11-29-15, specifically in this post about Cristie Kerr and Inbee Park getting in this same position. The trick here -- and what I want you to understand -- is that Jang is a long hitter and yet she doesn't have anywhere near as much wrist cock at Kerr and Park at this position. As you can see, the shaft of her driver is NOT parallel to the ground.

It's clear that, while wrist cock is important, it's not nearly as important as most of us think!

In this post about long drive champion Jeff Flagg I included this quote:
WHAT AM I THINKING ABOUT WHEN I SWING? My only real thought is, Right hand and arm drive the swing. That's it. I'm literally trying to make a sidearm throwing motion—like a 3-6-3 double play in baseball. If more golfers swung with the same motion, as if they were skipping stones, they'd pound the ball.
This "bent trailing elbow position" I talked about in the Kerr-Park post and that you can see Jang doing in this one is the same "sidearm throwing motion" Flagg talks about.

I would suggest going back and re-reading the Kerr-Park post (since there's no sense in repeating it all) and comparing it to what Flagg and Jang do. I'm seriously beginning to think this is the position that most speed drills are trying to get you into so you can get distance. I think I know the perfect drill to help you work on it -- once you know what you're trying to learn, that is -- and I'll try to do a post on that next week. This post is long enough already!

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