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Friday, April 2, 2021

Let's Talk About Shanshan's Swing (Videos)

You no doubt heard about Shanshan Feng's bogey-free 67 at the ANA on Thursday, which put her in second place after one round. You probably also heard that she did it without picking up a club for over a year -- which, some of GC's analysts noted, sounds like Shanshan's well-known aversion to practice!

The question becomes, how did she manage to play so well?

I've done posts about Shanshan's swing over the years, so I thought today might be a good time to revisit those posts and bring you up-to-date on Shanshan's current swing. Fortunately the LPGA posted a video of all her televised first-round play on YouTube so I'm going to post it here. It's only about 7 minutes long but it shows a variety of shots, complete with the analysts' comments.

The belief that Shanshan didn't touch a club until a couple of months ago seems to have come from her caddie, whom she calls 'The Boss', who said she only started practicing a couple of months ago. But I think, based on what she said in interviews after the round -- I'll post one of those at the end of this post -- that he just meant she didn't start working with him until about two months ago. She told Amy Rogers in a GC interview right after the round that she had done a little practicing during her time off, and the interview later in this post clarifies that she didn't play any tournaments for the last 14 months.

I am very frustrated that some of the videos I've posted about Shanshan's swing -- including one from GC -- are no longer available and just show up as blank spots on my posts. (Who says that anything posted on the internet is there forever?) Fortunately the best video survived. That video is from the most in-depth post I did on her swing back in 2017, and I did another post later that month that added some more info. I won't reprint those posts; you can use the links to get the details. But I did want to repost the video itself so you can compare her 2017 swing with her 2021 swing. They are virtually identical, and I think that's part of the reason she played so well.

While Shanshan believes she lost some yardage over the last 14 months, 'The Boss' told her she's actually just a bit longer. As I noted in the second post about her swing, Shanshan uses this simple swing to hit the ball around 250 yards. And while the analysts talked about some of Shanshan's swing quirks, bear in mind that these quirks are so natural to her that she doesn't need much practice to keep her swing working. I suspect most of her practice has been on her short game -- it looked pretty good to me on Thursday.

I'll leave you with Shanshan's official 'media scrum' after her round. Shanshan's just so much fun to listen to, and yet she does give you some insight into her mindset coming back to tournament golf after 14 months away.

I wish more people approached the game the way Shanshan Feng does. They would probably be happier AND score better as well.

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