The Modern Swing: Tiger’s Modern Backswing and Downsizing
Previously, I brought to your attention something that had previously gone unnoticed by golf experts, yet it is something so groundbreaking for the world of golf instruction and how the game is likely to be taught in the future. It was the discovery that Tiger Woods changed his swing once again, likely this time forever, since the new Modern Swing he employed helped him hit the ball so powerfully, so accurately and, moreover, on such a super-controlled consistent trajectory, that he re-entered the winner’s circle at the 2007 PGA championship, his 13th time in a major championship.
I had heard from good sources, prior to the PGA, that Tiger was working on modernizing his swing, only this time all alone, without the help of any of his former teachers and without the aid of present coach Hank Haney. Apparently, Tiger had programmed so much swing data into his brain over years and years that he just wanted to let all this technical information filter through, with only the best swing technique emerging.
All of you teachers, and your students, too, should be excited and ecstatic that in your lifetime you not only get to see this great champion hit such wonderful tee shots, but that you now will learn, based on my observations, the backswing and downswing keys that Tiger uses to compliment his new Modern address, described previously. On that note, let me take you to the lesson tee, where I will use Tiger as the ultimate Modern Swing model. You, me, your students, and our generation of teachers and amateur golfers should all realize that Tiger’s new Modern Swing just may be the future of golf instruction.
THE MODERN BACKSWING ACTION
Once comfortably and correctly establishing the Modern Swing Setup, Tiger swings the club low to the ground for about six inches, just long enough to start creating width, and thus stored power. Tiger controls the swinging action by nudging his weight away from the target and gently pulling the club away with his hands, simply because it is the most natural thing to do. The club moves directly along the target line early in the takeaway, then slightly to the inside once Tiger’s shoulders begin turning slightly clockwise.
As soon as the club’s shaft parallels the target line at waist level and weight shifts to Tiger’s right foot, right leg, and braced right knee, Tiger allows his right wrist to hinge slightly, with the club moving up quite quickly. This upward movement of the club is helped by Tiger’s modernized shoulder action. Rather than turn the shoulders on a flat plane, he kind of rocks them, albeit being cautious not to dip them. Make sure you advise your students to be careful of wrongly dipping the shoulders, since this fault will cause a reverse pivot. Let the player simply feel the correct movement – left shoulder points down slightly, right shoulder points up slightly – in a see-saw fashion.
Tiger continues swinging back, with the momentum of the turn and the slight tug on the club with his right
hand carrying the club to the top, where it now finishes square to the target line rather than laid off, as was the case before his switch to a Modern Swing. Tiger’s early set and turn action allow him to make a free and fluid backswing action that is more natural-feeling, and therefore easier for him and all golfers to repeat.
Tiger’s footwork has changed, too. Rather than keep his left heel planted on the ground, he allows it to lift slightly, and this move promotes a bigger, more relaxed turn, though the turning action of the shoulders, again, is more upright than flat. It’s obvious that Tiger figured out that this modernized turning action allows the club to stay closer to the target line on the backswing, so that he can rely less on timing for delivering it squarely to the ball on the downswing.
THE MODERN DOWNSWING ACTION
Because Tiger now sets the club sooner on the backswing and arrives in the ideal parallel position at the top, all he does to trigger the downswing is replant his left heel and nudge or bump his body weight toward the target. These moves, in turn, cause the right elbow to drop down into his side and the club to fall into the perfect hitting slot.
Because Tiger now swings the club back on an upright plane, the club does not have to travel as far on the downswing when returning to impact. Tiger sometimes used to swing the club on an overly flat plane and lay the club off at the top, which caused him problems coming down. Fearing the club would get stuck behind his body and cause him to have trouble returning it to square (from such an inside position), Tiger tended to sometimes clear his hips too early and too vigorously and ruin a good score by hitting a tee shot way off line into trouble.
The beauty of Tiger’s new modernized downswing is that it is an ideal remedy for students who tend to swing the club back on an overly flat plane and push shots right of target. Tiger’s modern action is both freefeeling and natural-feeling, and thus easier to repeat. Simply have the student trigger the downswing by practically simultaneously nudging their lower body toward the target and replanting the left heel on the teeing ground’s grass surface. In doing thus, the right elbow and club will drop down into the perfect hitting position. from there, all your student should do is rotate his or her left hip counterclockwise, just as Tiger does. A split second later, the student should release the right foot and hip and begin straightening the right arm.
Finally, once the student’s left hip clears and the club nears impact, he or she should straighten the right wrist. Do that yourself and you will feel the club catapult into the back of the ball. Bam! You have just experienced Tiger Woods’ hot new swing with a Modern Twist.