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Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Scott McCarron's Driver Swing (Video)

With his third win of the season at the DICK'S Sporting Goods Open Sunday, Scott McCarron pulled to roughly $800k behind Schwab Cup leader Bernhard Langer. I thought it might be interesting to look at Scott's driver swing and see what we can learn from it.

Let me start by saying that you don't have to swing like Scott does. That's not my point here. What I want you to see is how his swing works. There are many ways to drive a golf ball, and the best players have figured out how to make the different parts of their swings work together. We want to understand how those basics work in Scott's swing.

And the first thing you'll notice is how far back in his stance Scott positions his ball for a driver. The "scientists" among us say we need a launch angle of about 12°, which means we need to be swinging upward when hitting the ball off the tee. That means we need to have our swing center -- which I would place at the point where your spine meets your shoulder girdle -- that needs to be behind the ball at impact.

Because Scott places the ball so far back in his stance -- just ahead of center -- his address position has to take this into account. Therefore he sets up with his spine tilted noticeably backward, and when he swings it appears as if he moves even farther behind the ball. That's not actually true, though -- although his lead shoulder moves farther behind the ball, you can see that his trailing knee DOESN'T MOVE during his backswing. He's holding himself steady, but his shoulder turn (around his reasonably stationary spine position) makes it look like he's moving away. This is something you might notice on many players with a similar setup if you just look for it.

On the downswing Scott's lower body moves forward a bit more dramatically than I would like to see, but this is also a side effect of his ball position. He needs to shift his weight forward but he also has to keep his swing center behind the ball if he hopes to hit upward on the ball. That creates the dramatic hip shift as he starts down. HOWEVER, note that his lead leg and hip are pretty much vertical at impact, preventing him from ending up in a painful reverse-C position at impact.

So despite the body angles created by his nearly centered ball position, Scott manages to avoid bad extremes that could hurt his back. I still find it hard to believe he can hit up on the ball from that position, but he's averaging 292 yards off the tee this season, so it seems to be working for him.

The lesson here is that your ball position places its own demands on your swing. If you're having trouble with your accuracy, the first thing you should check is your ball position. No matter what changes you make to your swing, you won't get the results you want if you position the ball incorrectly for your swing's mechanics.


  1. It could be, Arch, but if you check other vids of his driver swing, the ball placement is nearly identical. This is just one of the better quality vids.