Today we're going to be analyzing last week's winner Bubba Watson. We're going to talk about three keys that he uses in his swing. Three key moves to absolutely bomb the ball. We're going to talk about those three keys and how rotary swing uses the same three keys to help you to improve your drives.
A good powerful swing all starts with the takeaway and with the rotary swing, we really recommend you get a big shoulder turn very early. That's a real key in creating power in the golf swing. We wanna get this early shoulder turn so that we can really coil at the top. Most people that struggle with getting to at least 90 at the top, aren't making this shoulder turn early enough. They're waiting until the end of their swing. They're picking their club up with their arms and they're not really really wide as what we'd see here with Bubba.
So notice here, big huge shoulder turn and this is a result of both arms staying very straight but relaxed and creating tons of width in the early part of the takeaway. As his club is parallel with the ground, we're gonna see he's got tons of width here. If you look at his left hip, your right hip for you right handed golfers, he almost has a foot between the butt end of the club and the back hip. We can see creating huge huge amounts of shoulder turn. So 65 degrees of shoulder turn in the first few feet of the swing is really setting yourself up for a lot of power later in the swing.
Now, Bubba tends to exaggerate things and just take them to the Nth degree. With the rotary swing, we get not quite this wide. Let me show you what more of a model for the rotary swing would be where you can still incorporate this wide swing and a lot of power, but not quite so wide that you feel like getting disconnected from your body.
Here with Tiger, we're gonna see something that would be more along the lines of what we'd recommend with the rotary swing. It's the same motions, just toned down a little bit. You're gonna see that the butt end of the club and the right hip are about five or six inches apart, maybe a little bit more, in comparison to Bubba which is almost a foot, and a nice big shoulder turn, probably 45 degrees here as opposed to Bubba's 60 to 65 degrees. These arms are gonna be nice and straight but relaxed. This is all as the club is parallel with the ground. He's getting a good wide turn, loading up the body but just not quite to the extreme. It's gonna be a little bit more consistent and a little bit more repeatable.
So the next piece we're gonna talk about is completing the backswing and getting some nice elevation with the hands and arms. You can see here, Bubba's hands are extremely high in the backswing. He's really maximizing the leverage that you can get from this position. He feels very powerful from this position and he's really using gravity to his advantage. In the downswing, gravity's gonna help to accelerate this club head as he starts down and the higher your hands get, the easier it's gonna be to accelerate. This is something that you'll see with a lot of long drive players. They're gonna get those hands very very high to maximize gravity and maximize the amount of leverage they can create in the golf swing. If you take a look at this swing on the left, we'll see he's able to do this by getting a very vertical right arm, it'd be a left arm for you right handed golfers. You'll notice just how vertical this arm is.
Now, with a one plane swing or flatter swingers of the golf club, they're gonna tend to have a little bit more trouble with distance, not that they'll hit it short if they're doing other things correctly, but all other things given the same, the flatter you get this arm, the less elevation you're gonna have and the more of a loss of club head speed you're gonna have. If you do everything else correct, it doesn't mean you're gonna hit it short if you have a one plane swing or a flatter swing, it just means it's gonna be a little more difficult to get speed. We'll see here, as you mention, very high hands, look at the butt of the club, very high and the left arm is very vertical as opposed to this would be more of a flatter left arm which would result in a lower club which means I'm gonna have to accelerate by using a lot more rotation in the downswing. It's gonna put a little bit more stress on my body.
Now, with the rotary swing, we're gonna also take advantage of this elevation, but we're gonna be somewhere between where Bubba was, which where his hands were way up here, very very high, very vertical lead arm. The opposite of that would be a very flat left arm matching up with the shoulders here and very flat around your body. This would be more along the line of Matt Kuchar, very low arms. This would be Bubba up here. Then right in the middle of those would be someone like you see here, like an Adam Scott, a Tiger Woods, a Billy Horschel, somewhere around in there. This is gonna be kinda the best of both worlds.
The butt end of the club ... gonna go ahead and get rid of the rest of these lines. The butt end of the club would be just outside the right shoulder. This is about as far outside the right shoulder as I like to see somebody at the top, taking advantage of elevation. You can see that the club is still very high, but also not having to go so high that your lead arm gets in the way of your chin as we see with Bubba's and your not gonna have to drop it down as far. This is a great position here that we see Adam Scott in.
Now, as Bubba starts down, this is one of the cooler things of his swing here. Pretty amazing how much force he gets in his lower body. You're gonna see this lead leg very bent and his lead ankle, right ankle since he's a left-hander, is off the ground. From here, you're gonna see this lead ankle really drive down into the ground with a lot of force. What that's gonna do is that's gonna drive his lower body upwards. So watch his hips as we complete this downswing. Watch how those starting to move upward as the lead leg straightens, both legs straighten up and what that's doing is that's providing resistance for him. Since this is going up and that lead ankle is really driving down into the ground, that's gonna give him more leverage to then go down with the arms. Equal and opposite reaction. The harder you drive up, the more you can throw down and that's one of the ways he gets a ton of speed.
Now, look at this. This is pretty amazing here. He's doing this so hard, front foot's off the ground. The back ankle, his left ankle, is also off the ground. The only thing touching the ground right now is the tip of the inside of his back toe. He's just completely off the ground. You can see that foot kinda sliding around. Watch that lead foot come up off the ground and actually slide out from under him and the only thing touching is his back toe. That's a pretty extreme example of driving with the lower body to provide some power. With he rotary swing, we recommend something a little bit more repeatable than that, so a little bit less flying parts.
Let me go ahead and show you that motion as we would recommend. Now we're gonna see the exact some motions with Tiger Woods but just to a lesser degree. That lead leg is bending. He's loaded this up and from this point, he's gonna start his downswing. At the same time here, he's gonna drive this lead ankle down into the ground, that's gonna force the hips upward and allow him to throw his arms downward. A lot harder to maximize club head speed. Let's watch just the hips here. See how he's driving the left ankle in and these hips are starting to straighten up. You can definitely see that motion right here. That's providing resistance for him throw down harder with the arms.
What you'll notice though is that his feet aren't moving around all over the place on the ground, that he's not sliding out, his feet aren't coming up off the ground. This is a very repeatable way to provide that resistance. That's one of the reasons you'll see Tiger squat so much in the swing, is that he's just loading up so that he can really drive with he lower body and then extend those arms.
So, Bubba Watson, three great moves to get power. I recommend toning down all three just a little bit, but it's definitely three great checkpoints if you want to bomb your drives.
For those of you that are Rotary Swing Members, there's a couple videos I recommend you watch. In the takeaway section, so working on that nice wide takeaway that we mentioned with Bubba, we can work on the wide narrow wide drill ... I believe that's actually in the introduction section. Then with the takeaway section, we can work on the bucket drill, we can work on the keeping the right arm straight which would be the left arm here for Bubba, and a few of those other drills that you'll find in the takeaway section. Those are all gonna help you to get a wider takeaway, bigger shoulder turn, and help you to start building that power right from the beginning of the swing.
The second thing we're gonna work on here as we're going to the top and the backswing section, would be the shoulder elevation video. That's gonna talk about how to get those arms a little bit more elevated, which is a real key to power.
Then lastly, we're gonna talk about downswing sequencing drill you can do to help with your lower body and just your overall sequencing, which would be how to sequence the downswing drill, a video in the downswing section.
You can find all those on the rotary swing website available to Premium Members. Try out all of those, really work on your game and I guarantee you'll start picking up some distance. Good luck and I'll see you guys very soon.
-Dr. Jeffrey Broker, Assoc. Prof. in Biomechanics at University of Colorado at Colorado Springs and Former Senior Biomechanist for U.S. Olympics Committee
-Hub Orr - Happy PREMIUM MEMBER of RotarySwing.com
-Sam Jarman, PGA Golf Instructor in the UK