What’s So Great About Tiger’s Swing Technique… and Why?
There’s no question that teaching professionals are fascinated by the swing of Tiger Woods, arguably the greatest golfer ever. The irony is, rarely, if ever, does a teacher, television analyst, sports-writer, radio announcer, magazine editor, or book-author tell us what his secret swing move is. What’s even more frustrating is how Tiger seems to speak a language all his own when being interviewed about his swing.
The purpose of this article, brought to you by the editors of Golf Teaching Pro in conjunction with a number of our members, is to try and unravel the mystery of Tiger’s masterful technique. Specifically, Federation teachers pinpoint what they believe is their favorite, most technically attractive aspect of Tiger’s driver technique.
Where teaching is concerned, it is your job to consider the answers your fellow instructors gave to the question above, then decide which setup, backswing, or downswing element of Tiger’s best suits a specific type of individual that visits you for lessons.
By Dave Shaver, Level IV Member, Phoenix, Arizona
“Tiger sets up open, aligning his feet, knees, hips, and shoulders slightly left of the target line. This address position allows Tiger to fade and control the ball much easier than before with his closed alignment.
“On a related note, Tiger also now positions the ball more forward in his stance. This setup feature allows him to better accommodate lateral movement on the downswing. Specifically, Tiger can now shift into the ball while turning the hips, versus spinning the hips; a fault that in the past caused him to get stuck and hit an off-line shot.”
By Mark Harmon, Level IV Member, Ridgeland, South Carolina
“I like how Tiger’s swing is so on plane during the initial stage of the backswing and how the club-head traces a direct, precise path.
“Tiger’s excellent start to the swing puts him into a very balanced, controlled, and powerful position at the top.”
David Reid, Level IV Member, Thunderbay, Ontario
“Tiger’s top-of-backswing position is the most impressive technical aspect of his driver swing. In particular, his balance, posture, and width of arc spell virtual perfection.”
Kenneth Butler, Level IV Member, Bradenton, Florida
“Tiger’s transition into the downswing is so slow you can read the number/logo on the bottom of his club. It’s this unique feature of his swing that helps him create tremendous club-head speed at impact and through the ball.”
Jim Perez, Level IV Member, Fresno, California
“My favorite joint aspects of Tiger’s long swing technique involve a one-two punch if you will; a smooth lateral move to
start the forward swing, then perfectly timed, technically perfect hand rotation through impact.”
John Savage, Level IV Member, Langhorne, Pennsylvania
“On the backswing, Tiger keeps his arms and body at the same pace all the way to the top.
“On the downswing, Tiger continues to maintain the same arm and body pace as he holds his hands in the same position that they were in when he completed the backswing.
“The condition of Tiger’s arms and hands changes only when he uses his whole pivot to strike the ball. He then allows his left hip to carry his arms into a high finish.
“These motions keep Tiger in balance and very level throughout the swing, which gives him the ability to pace his power.”
Jim Schwab, Level IV Member, Durham, North Carolina
“A favorite aspect of Tiger’s driver technique is how his lower body, namely the hips, move at a quick pace on the downswing.
“This unique feature of Tiger’s action allows his upper body, shoulders, arms, and hands to follow, such that he can create exceptionally high club-head speed and attack the ball from the inside.
“As most of us see in teaching, many of our students do the opposite. In sharp contrast to Tiger, the typical player tries to generate club-head speed and power with the small muscles of the body, particularly those in the hands, thereby prompting the upper body to start the downswing.”
John Andrisani, Level III Member, Vero Beach, Florida
“Most of all, I like the way Tiger has learned to “hold” the weight transferred to his right side, by keeping his right knee flexed and virtually locked as he swings the club to the top. This bracing action allows his upper body to wind up more powerfully against a resisting lower body, with maximum power created.
“At one stage, not all that long ago, when Tiger was in a so called slump period (by his standards anyway), he was allowing the right knee to swivel too much. The results were a loss of turning-power, an off-plane backswing, a mistimed downswing, and misdirected tee shots.
“Teach your students that even the best golfers make mistakes, and to learn from them.”