November 3, 2019

She’s only 21, but three-time LPGA Tour winner Nelly Korda has established herself as one of America’s superstars (both she and older sister Jessica went 3–0–1 in this year’s Solheim Cup), and proved it once again this weekend when she defended her title in Taiwan.

I worked with Jessica when she was a junior and for a stint after she turned pro, so I know the Korda family well. Nelly, to put it simply, is athletically blessed. Her parents, Regina and Petr, were both world-class tennis players; Petr reached the rank of world number two at one stage.

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Sebastian Korda, the girls’ younger brother, was an amazing youth hockey player and now is a tennis pro like his mom and dad. Talk about your gene pool! Nelly was new to golf when I was coach- ing Jessica, and it’s been interesting to watch her grow. She’s a highly skilled short-game player, among other things. If you’re chunking what should be easy up-and-down opportunities, copy what you see here.

When it comes to finesse, the Kordas know best.


1. PIN TO WIN

Check out how Nelly pins her right arm to her ribcage as she swings through impact. This gives you pin-point control, but it only works if you add side bend and shoulder tilt, as Nelly has done here perfectly.

2. DARE TO BE SQUARE

Because Nelly has kept her right arm close to her torso, her right wrist remains stable. So does the club- face—see how they both line up? This is perfect. Her left wrist is starting to extend, and it will flex even farther as she completes her motion. The key is that this happens without the face shutting down. Not only does this produce straighter shots, it also creates consistent dynamic launch at impact, making distance-control problems a thing of the past.

3. DO THE MATH

It looks like the ball is “popping” up. It’s not. Rather, it’s launching low (as few as 30 to 35 degrees) but with boatloads of spin. What makes Nelly great is that she can re-create these launch conditions on almost every short-game swing. Here’s a tip: Work on your short game with Trackman, focusing on the data, not what your shot looks like. It’s the quickest way to sharpen your wedge game and create consistent distances for your sand, gap and lob wedges.

4. FOLLOW THE BALL

Nelly’s eyes and head are remaining steady, but the rest of her body—specifically, her torso and hips are actively rotating. When weekend players try to keep their head down, they invariably lose their athleticism, which leads to flubs or thins. The trick? Keep your head steady, let your eyes follow the ball, then rotate out of the shot.

5. KEEP CALM, CARRY ON

It’s important to note that a pitch shot requires better technique than a full swing. Why? Because there are no dynamics or enough time to get your- self reorganized if you fall out of sync. You can recover from a bad move during a full swing, but not on finesse shots. Get it right. Copy Nelly. See how her ribcage and hips are rotating? Look at her left leg: It’s straightening. Let your motion flow. As soon as you slam on the brakes when hitting a pitch shot, you’re toast.