The biggest stars in the game might have strange methods when working on their swing, but there are ways you can benefit from it
We watch in awe as the pros dismantle course after course. Most are enormously talented and physically gifted but they also work hard and more importantly, they work smart. They use drills, they hone feels, they work in slow motion, they exaggerate moves – the list goes on.
What they don’t do is aimlessly hit an endless stream of balls. There are loads of videos that do the rounds on the internet if you want to delve deeper but for my purposes, I’ve picked out three that emphasise my point.
Range drills: Rory McIlroy
First, here’s a clip of Rory McIlroy doing some drill work on the range.
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@rorymcilroy DRILLIN IT – Top players in the world do stuff like this all the time, yet all you want to do is hit balls?!? BUILD and THEN test with golf balls. Tough to BUILD with golf balls. www.GolfBetterTucson.com 💪 #golfbettertucson #rorymcilroy #derekdeminsky (via @gunygolf59 )Nov 4, 2019 at 3:56pm PST
He’s using a split grip to exaggerate how he wants the hands and arms to work in the downswing. When the Northern Irishman has struggled in the past, it’s been the result of a tendency to get his hands and arms stuck behind him as he approaches impact.
This drill promotes the opposite move to what is his weakness. He’ll never get into this position but it gives him a feeling which helps keep this tendency in check.
Range drills: Francesco Molinari
Next up is 2018 Open champion, Francesco Molinari. Ahead of the Turkish Airlines Open, the European Tour captured this footage of the Italian. Exactly what he is working on is hard to know for sure but look at the way he is practising.
— The European Tour (@EuropeanTour) November 6, 2019
First, he takes the club back before holding the position at the top, increasing his awareness of how this should feel. From there, he moves the club slowly to the halfway point in his downswing, emphasising how he wants his hands and arms to work.
Finally, a classic step-through drill. We’ve seen Padraig Harrington do this during tournament play and it’s a great way to ensure you get your weight moving forward through the shot and into the follow-through.
Range drills: Justin Rose
Lastly, we have Justin Rose and again, there’s a lot going on.
— The European Tour (@EuropeanTour) November 9, 2019
In the past Rose has admitted his bad habits involve getting the arms stuck underneath which results in a compensatory release through impact. When your timing’s on it can be effective but it isn’t the most consistent method.
He’s worked on his swing for years and now has one of the best on tour but still strives to keep on top of these traits.
To do this, Rose frequently uses an impact ball. This allows him to maintain the space between his forearms as he’s rotating through and deliver a neutral clubface to the ball.
As well as the training aid, the former World No. 1 can regularly be seen exaggerating moves. Like Molinari, he makes a very deliberate backswing before he squats into the ground, dragging his arms down in front of him and emphasising how he wants to use the ground through impact to further stabilise the club and minimise face rotation post-impact.
What can you learn?
There are no quick fixes in this sport. If you were to watch the swings of McIlroy, Molinari or Rose immediately after these drills, you wouldn’t notice a difference. But there’s a reason the best players practise like this.
If you want to make even the smallest tweak to your technique this winter, follow their lead and really exaggerate your range work.
What swing changes have you got lined up for next season? Let me know in the comments or tweet me.