Is Steve Stricker’s golf swing the future of golf? Is it possible that his swing has been developing for a while? Is his swing any different from other players today?
During the coverage of the FedEx cup the last few weeks the golf commentators were discussing some of the attributes of Steve Stricker’s golf swing. Their discussion suggested that his swing was going to be the way the swing will be taught in the future.
The main focus of their discussion was the fact that Steve had very little manipulation of the club and the swing was controlled mainly with the body’s rotation.
This is not anything new. Byron Nelson started controlling his swing with the bigger muscles of the body back in the 30’s. Mr. Nelson made the changes when he made the change from wooden shafts, that had a tremendous amount of torque, to steel shafts that had a lot less torque. The newer steel shafts did not require as much manipulation, so Mr. Nelson eliminated his hands from the golf swing.
Another topic of discussion was the width of the golf swing, which is again, nothing new.
The idea of widening the golf swing to produce a bigger arc has been in vogue for a while. I was taught this element in 1973 by my mentor. At the time he had not figured out all the dynamics that were in play, but he was headed in the right direction. I am sure others were experimenting with it, but Jimmy A. Thompson was the first person I know of, who implemented it in his teaching.
Prior to that time everyone said the golf club had to be parallel to the ground and parallel to the target at the top of the backswing. What we have found is that is not necessarily that important. What is more important is the relationship of the hands to the back shoulder and the separation we can create from the head. The width of the swing is more important than having the club parallel at the top. It is acceptable for the club to be pointing slightly left of the target at the top of the backswing (for the right handed golfer).
The commentators also talked about what they perceived to be a limited amount of wrist hinge. Steve just lets his wrists hinge and unhinge naturally. He does not attempt to manufacture the hinge. With less manipulation there is more opportunity to keep the club head squarer, longer. This is a big reason why Steve has such a marvelous short game.
Steve is not the only player that has taken the manipulation out of his swing. Most of his peers have done the same thing. When you look at the players today, all their swings appear to have come off the GM assembly line. It truly is hard to tell one player from the next. Thirty plus years ago, you did not have to see the players face to know who was swinging the club. Back then everybody controlled the club more with the hands, which created a wider variety of swings.
Hopefully, Steve Stricker’s swing becomes the future of golf, but I think the future is now. The players today are striving for a simpler swing, with fewer moving parts, that is more replicable, with less effort. But this concept is nothing new.
Thank you to all the teaching professionals that had the foresight to start developing a simpler way. Thank you especially to my mentor, Jimmy A. Thompson, for showing me the way.