Analysis by Top 100 Teacher Anne Cain
Anne Cain Golf Academy, Amelia Island, Fla.
Michelle Wie's record in her first few events as a fully exempt LPGA player may not have justified the hype, but her beautiful swing sure does. She and coach David Leadbetter have worked hard to tighten up the extra motion and loose parts to her swing, and her ballstriking is much improved from three years ago.
For such a tall player, Michelle exhibits great balance and control, considering she can drive the ball 280 yards. She generates power through her pivot and body turn, and she delivers the club perfectly on plane. Amateurs should try to copy her positions and eliminate the tendency to overswing and lose control of the golf club. Remember: It's the quality of the strike that equates to power and accuracy, not the quantity size or length of the strike.
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1. Michelle is perfectly in balance, with tall knees and a straight spine. The club rests on a plane through her belt buckle. Her posture here is the best way to promote rotation.
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2. What a beautiful, on-plane takeaway her hands and shaft line up perfectly, and her body has rotated 30 to 40 degrees. Notice how her right leg is retracting if you try to keep it flexed too much, you'll restrict your hip turn, which leads to a sway.
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3. At the top, Michelle has made a full pivot and turn. Her arms are in a much lower and flatter position than they would have been in the swing she was using several years ago, which helps the club slot on the downswing plane.
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4. As she makes her transition to the downswing, notice that her hands and arms have dropped but her shoulders and hips haven't moved. If you open up too early, you'll usually end up throwing the club 'over the top' to get to the ball.
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5. Halfway down, Michelle's arms and clubshaft are in an ideal position. The shaft points right at the ball, and her spine has lowered into the delivery position. The clubface looks vertical and square as it should on a fairway wood or driver.
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6. Check out how similar the position of her hands and shaft are to Frame 2. Amazingly, her body is just starting to rotate at this stage in her downswing. This "late hit" gives her tremendous power.
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7. At impact Michelle's spine is slightly lower than at address and her left leg is starting to straighten. Staying down like this and rotating helps the club compress the ball as much as possible.
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8. In the early follow-through you can see her arm extension and how open her shoulders and hips are. If your arms are bent and your shoulders are square, you've decelerated. No deceleration here!
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9. You can see the circular nature of Michelle's swing here her posture and shaft in the backswing and follow-through are mirror images. She hasn't had to make any compensations, so it looks simple.
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10. Her tremendous rotation past impact slings the club well around her body into a full finish. Her right shoulder and club are pointing down the fairway, a sign of great continuity and acceleration.
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