‘Power your swing from your core to strike irons sweetly’
1. Ball slightly back
I play the ball back a little bit in my set-up, just ahead of the centre of my chest. This allows me to make a crisp, clean strike on the ball. I see a lot of amateurs play the ball too far forward in their stance. This can cause all sorts of problems, including the club getting ahead of your hands too soon, which can lead to some pretty bad mishits.
2. Left shoulder under chin
Another thing I’ve worked really hard on with Butch is making sure I maintain good width in my swing by getting my left shoulder under my chin as I rotate in the backswing. This gets the club on a neutral plane and helps prevent me from getting too steep on the way back and, in turn, shallowing out too much on the way down.
I’ve always been a good iron player. Growing up in the Texas wind, you’d better be.
It all starts with decent control and this is something I’ve really been able to dial in with my coach Butch Harmon.
We’ve developed a body-controlled swing that delivers precise strikes. In two of the last three seasons, I was ranked in the top 15 in ‘strokes gained – approach to the green’ on the PGA Tour and I’m inside the top 25 this year, despite having some health issues battling Lyme Disease.
Here are the four key things I work on to make sure I’m hitting the ball consistently well.
3. Maintain the triangle
My core does most of the work during the swing, not my arms. You can ensure your body is doing the work by focusing on the triangle between your shoulders and arms – it should be there for the entire backswing. My wrists hinge at the top but I stop my swing at threequarters, especially on my shorter irons, for more control.
4. Pinch the ball at impact
My downswing starts with my left hip shifting toward my target and the body unwinding. Using my body as much as I do delivers the clubhead consistently and gives me consistent loft and distance on every shot. My main focus is trying to really pinch the ball to create that nice compression you hear from tour players.
A lot of people tend not to wait for the club to complete the backswing before they start ‘coming down’. This means the upper body starts moving too early in the downswing – before the lower body.