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Learn our Player of the Year's top moves and raise your skills to a whole new level

Rory McIlroy
Simon Bruty/SI
Rory uses his body as a support mechanism to stay in balance, even when topping 120 mph on the swing-speed meter.

4. MAINTAIN BALANCE FROM START TO FINISH
One of Rory's hallmarks is an incredibly balanced swing and finish position. Unlike a lot of amateurs, you never see him fall over or to the side after he hits a shot, even when it's a 350-yard smash to a tight fairway. The reason he can do this, in addition to his incredible flexibility and athleticism, is that he swings in the proper sequence and uses his body to properly support his dynamic movement. If you try to create power by swinging the club from the top with nothing but your arms, or thrust excessively with your legs with the club trailing too far behind, you'll always be off balance, and your delivery of power will be inefficient and weak. You've probably heard the phrase, "swing within yourself," and this is what I'm referring to. Rory may swing incredibly fast, but his near-perfect balance shows that he's swinging comfortably within his capabilities and from the "ground up" (check the photos above for proof). Regardless of how far you hit it now, if you improve your balance (drill, below) you'll swing with much more power and control.

 

Golf Swing Balance
 
 

HOW TO GET BALANCED: Feet-Together Drill
Grab your driver, tee up a ball and assume your normal address position, but with your feet together. Try to hit some easy drives, swinging only as fast as you can while maintaining your balance. If you practice this drill enough, you should hit drives that are almost as long as your normal shots because your efficiency, balance and sequence will be so much better. Once you master this, apply the same balance and transfer of energy to your regular motion.

 

Rory McIlroy
Darren Carroll/SI
It's no coincidence that the best player in the world also has the best release.

5. SWING THE CLUBHEAD (NOT THE HANDLE)
Another thing that Rory does incredibly well that most amateurs don't is control the clubhead. When he swings, you can clearly see how much awareness he has of the clubhead and the clubface, and because of this, he's able to sling both of them past his body with natural speed and power. This is impossible to do if you grip the club so tightly that you can't feel the clubhead when you swing. In the photo at right, you can see how he has completely let the clubhead go -- there's absolutely no steering or holding on. That's a mistake that most amateurs make. Try the drill at right to improve your release and accuracy with every club.

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