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Saturday, October 7, 2017

The Key Area in Brooke Henderson's Swing

At least, this is what I see as the key area. And unlike other aspects of her swing, this is something you can learn from and -- even if you can't do it the way she does -- you can use some of it.

The photos below come from a Golf Digest article about Brooke's swing. The article focuses on her lower body and makes the point that most of us can't do it. Why? The word they use to describe her hips is "hypermobile," which means she is inhumanly flexible. But what I see in the photos isn't mentioned at all.

Take a look at the last position in this photo:

Brooke from setup to halfway down
and the first position in this photo:

Brooke from halfway down to finish
Granted, I doubt that you can get the amount of wrist cock Brooke does in that first photo. That just looks painful to me! It's not as dramatic as it looks though; Brooke flattens her swing plane on the way down, so the angle isn't quite as sharp as it looks from our point of view.

But I want you to notice how little her arms have moved from the end of photo 1 to the start of photo 2... and yet how much her wrists have uncocked in that same amount of time! This is the key thing I see in the photos.

Many of you lose clubhead speed because you uncock your wrists between the third and fourth positions in photo 1. That's much too early in your downswing. The key to keeping your wrists cocked until you reach that fourth position is a combination of relaxed wrists and letting the inertia of the clubhead keep them cocked. It's all in how you make your change in direction.

The question is... how do you learn to do this? It's a progressive thing you learn a little at a time. Here's my drill:
  1. Start by only swinging back to position 4 in photo 1 -- in other words, make a short backswing and stop there. Don't worry about getting as much wrist cock as Brooke because you probably won't. If you create a 90° angle between your club shaft and lead arm, you're golden.
  2. Now swing down slowly to position 1 in photo 2. Please note that the club shaft/lead arm angle is STILL 90°! During an actual swing, your change of direction will create enough motion to keep relaxed wrists in this position. Keep your wrists as relaxed as you can while you move GENTLY between these two positions. You don't have to hit a ball, just move between the two positions. Move as slowly as necessary; this is a feel drill.
  3. After you do that a few times and feel fairly good about it, try moving SLOWLY AND SMOOTHLY from the first position all the way down to impact -- position 2 in photo 2. Study this last position -- the shaft points straight out from your lead arm to a point that's a few inches in front of the ball. This is all about sequence -- position 4 in photo 1, to position 1 in photo 2, to position 2 in photo 2. DO IT AS SLOWLY AS NECESSARY TO CREATE THE PROPER SEQUENCE.
  4. Once you get the hang of that, try to make an actual swing -- A SLOW ONE -- from setup to position 4 in photo 1, to position 1 in photo 2, to position 2 in photo 2, and let the momentum take you to whatever finish you need. (It'll probably be short.)
What you're training yourself to do is feel the proper cocking and uncocking sequence to create clubhead speed. Do this sequence until it feels pretty good. You'll gradually pick up a little speed but don't worry about that too much -- after all, this is a short swing so it won't create a whole lot of speed. But it will create more speed than you expect!

And once you get comfortable with that, start lengthening the swing. Just remember that the uncocking action ALWAYS HAPPENS AT THE SAME PLACE. The longer swing will automatically create more speed and, once you feel comfortable at a certain speed, you can TRY to swing a bit faster. But as I said, just remember that the uncocking action ALWAYS HAPPENS AT THE SAME PLACE. That means you CAN learn to repeat this.

This is more of a mental adjustment than a physical one. You need to get used to WHERE you create speed. And once you do, it will start to take hold very quickly. Give yourself a month and I bet you'll be surprised at how much speed you can create.