Swing Sequence: Steve Stricker

Two-time PGA Tour Comeback Player of the Year Steve Stricker has experienced the full gamut of highs and lows. At no time was his up-and-down existence more apparent than at the end of the 2005 season, where he finished first in putts-per-round but still dropped to 162nd on the money list. That winter, Stricker went back to work on his game. He was mostly concerned with his backswing — it was too quick and too short with too little rotation, which led to a steep swing and an across-the-line position at the top. Stricker felt that if he could tweak his backswing he’d correct most of his scoring problems. A quick look at the sequence here shows that he accomplished his mission, so much so that Johnny Miller dubbed Stricker’s motion as “the swing of the future” during the telecast of Stricker’s victory at the 2009 Deutsche Bank Championship. The change is a testimony to Stricker’s work ethic and the effort it takes to become one of the Tour’s most consistent players, as well as one of its richest. Since the change, Stricker has bagged $15 million in earnings.

Analysis by Top 100 Teacher Mike Perpich
RiverPines Golf, Alpharetta, Ga.

1. Stricker starts his backswing by turning his shoulders, which “swings” his arms and club. This rotation also causes his forearms and the clubface to rotate slightly clockwise, which is important to keeping the shaft on plane.
2. Notice how Stricker’s shoulders, chest, core and hips turn in unison. Also notice how both the shaft and the clubhead sit directly above his toe line. You need both the shaft and head on plane like this to reach optimal power.
3. Stricker’s improved swing path and rotation are evidenced by the fact that his left arm is going through his right shoulder. This is a good checkpoint to determine the quality of your backswing plane.
4. Before and after — what an improvement! Stricker’s shoulders are turned more than twice as much as his hips. This means that his body is in control, not his arms and hands. This will lead to a better downswing tempo.
5. Stricker’s change of direction in the transition from backswing to downswing is smooth and unhurried. Notice that the only things moving are his hips (check the previous frame) as they unwind toward the target.
6. Check out how Stricker’s right elbow is in front of his right hip at impact — awesome. Since his previous backswing was short and quick, his right elbow would often get stuck behind his right hip.
7. Stricker stays in his address tilt (no raising or dipping) and simply lets his rotation take care of business. The shaft is coming out of his left shoulder, a key indicator that he’s kept his arms in front of his body.
8. Steve finishes his swing in full control and balance because of all the sound mechanics that came before. Copy the way his knees and thighs come together, and how his body points to the left of the target.

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