I’ve had the good fortune of watching Brooke Henderson hit quite a few balls in person over the last bunch of years. So, I can tell you first hand that it’s really special and very impressive.
When Brooke hits the ball, it doesn’t sound the same as it does when your local club champion hits the ball. As a matter of fact, it doesn’t sound the same as it does when most LPGA Pros hit the ball. Brooke’s impact sound is reserved for the top ball strikers in the game and most of them are on a Professional Men’s Tour.
Her strength, flexibility, balance and the speed she generates through her club and into the ball are incredible given her size and weight. She is truly a world class athlete. Brooke does so many impressive things when she swings the club, but those things may not be the ones that grab your attention when you see her swing on TV. Everyone who watches Brooke hit a ball, including many of the pundits and commentators on the LPGA coverage, comment on how far the club travels around her. And while it really is amazing to see where the club head ends up at the top of her backswing (it certainly has a John Daly look to it), that’s only part of her secret.
Looking at Brooke’s swing is just like looking at a great magic trick. When you’re watching it, you need to look away from where your focus is drawn to and towards the real secret of the trick. In Brooke’s case the real secret to her speed and power is in her incredible flexibility and strength and most of that starts with her lower body and legs. Have a look at the opposite page and you’ll see a rock-solid foundation. Brooke’s waist is level, her legs are flexed and full of energy and her feet anchor her to the ground in perfect balance. That quiet looking base is why she is one of the most consistent drivers in the game today. Her leg strength and lower body stability just make her swing, as long as it is, simple and repeatable. She is winding her upper body against her lower body and legs beautifully to create a powerful coil with lots of torque and readiness to swing forward.
Of course, I realize that most of you are rolling your eyes right now because you’re thinking that there’s no way you could swing the club back so far while keeping your lower body so quiet and stable. And you’re right, you can’t, so you shouldn’t try to copy this type of freakishly good upper body turn, arm flexibility and strength that leads to such a long looking swing. What you should try to do is copy the most important part of Brooke’s top of backswing position and that’s her great lower body position. Her feet are on the ground. Her legs are flexed. Her waist is level and the weight is turning against the inside of her back leg and right foot.
The most important thing about your top of backswing position is that it enables you to swing forward and through the ball properly. That proper downswing starts from the ground up with your lower body leading your unwind into the ball and to a full finish position. Technically, it’s called a kinematic sequence and it’s a lot easier if your lower body and legs look similar to Brooke’s at the top of your backswing. So, stop paying so much attention to the length of your club head swing and worry more about getting your lower body and legs into the proper position.
Next time you’re practising, take a quick photo of your top of backswing position with your smart phone and pay particular attention to your waist, legs, knees and feet. They’re the real secret to your own golf swing magic trick.
This instruction article appears in the Spring 2020 issue of Flagstick Golf Magazine. See the full digital edition at this link.
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