4 WAYS TO SMASH IT LIKE TONY

Golf Digest (South Africa) - - The Golf Life - BY BOYD SUM­MER­HAYS Boyd Sum­mer­hays is the Di­rec­tor of In­struc­tion at McDow­ell Moun­tain GC in Scottsdale, Ari­zona.

As a for­mer PGA Tour player from Utah, I knew about Tony’s power long be­fore I be­came his teacher. His dis­tance is al­most un­be­liev­able. He holds the record for the high­est ball speed ever recorded on the PGA Tour – 193 miles per hour (310kph) – from the 2007 US Bank Cham­pi­onship in Mil­wau­kee. Tony reins it in a lot of the time, but when he lets one go, there are few peo­ple who get any­where close to him.

Where does he find that power? Tony is largely self-taught and by na­ture is non-tech­ni­cal. He’s very smart – he’s a vo­ra­cious reader – but likes to ap­proach the swing in sim­ple lan­guage. He prefers swing keys that are vis­ual and feelo­ri­ented.We call them “feel­mages,” a blend of things you can see and sense. Here are a few you can try:

KEEP YOUR WEIGHT FOR­WARD

1 All good ath­letes func­tion with their weight slightly for­ward at all times. Not out over the toes, but on the balls of the feet. I don’t like to see play­ers shift­ing weight to the right heel on the back­swing – a pop­u­lar tip. It dis­rupts the turn and isn't good for bal­ance. Make no mis­take, bal­ance is a huge key to hit­ting it long, and Tony is a great model for dy­namic bal­ance.

SWING YOUR ARMS IN CLOSE

2 It’s trendy to try to ex­tend the club straight back away from the ball on a su­per-wide swing arc. Tony and I go the other way on this. If you swing to the in­side with your arms in close, it makes the club feel lighter and keeps you in con­trol. You also are much less likely to “get stuck” on the down­swing, the club get­ting too far be­hind your body. Tony swings “in and up,” much like Sam Snead used to do. Though his arms stay in close, they don’t cramp his swing. He has no prob­lem ar­riv­ing at the top with a full, wide arc, his left arm ex­tended beau­ti­fully.

TURN YOUR CHEST THROUGH

3 Fir­ing the hips is a well-es­tab­lished down­swing move. Noth­ing wrong with that, ex­cept it can lead to the up­per body not join­ing with the lower body. If you forget to fire the chest along with the hips and legs, the se­quence of mo­tion be­comes less dy­namic, and you cre­ate power leaks. Once Tony has cleared his hips, I like to see him ro­tate his chest as ag­gres­sively as he can. Now his whole body is in on the

act. In his fol­low-through, his belt buckle is aimed left of the tar­get, and his right shoul­der is aimed even fur­ther left. It’s a sign of un­in­hib­ited mo­tion with the chest, shoul­ders and arms.

FIND YOUR IN­NER ATH­LETE

4 Tony is 6-4, 91kg, and has un­com­monly long arms, shoul­ders like air­plane wings, gi­ant hands and the flex­i­bil­ity of a gym­nast. When he goes af­ter it like the ath­lete he is, he’s more nat­u­ral and has more fun. The les­son here for you is, take ad­van­tage of what you nat­u­rally do well. Maybe it’s a pow­er­ful swing, or soft hands. What­ever your strong suit, play it to the max.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.