Smylie Kaufman is better known for his friendship with Jordan Spieth and Rickie Fowler than his accomplishments on the golf course where he has won only once on the PGA Tour. This came in 2015 at the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open. But what he does have is a great golf swing that is very fundamentally sound and is a perfect role model to learn from. Thanks to Smylie Kaufman and Ron Kaspriske of Golf Digest for such an interesting and informative article!
Just a guess, but there are probably three or four things you need to work on with your golf swing to improve. Am I right? Then jot them down. I don’t care if you use an index card, like I do, or dictate them to your smartphone. Just make a list of swing keys, and when you practice, stick to them. For example, maybe you swing off your back foot and need to transfer your weight better. Or maybe you cut your swing off short, and should let your chest keep turning. Whatever issues you have, don’t let them always get the best of you because you’re not paying attention to how to fix them. Working with my swing coach, Tony Ruggiero, I’ve identified four fundamentals that I constantly try to improve. Keeping the index card handy allows me to stay on point. See if my notes can help you be a better ball-striker, too.
BACKSWING: KEEP IT TOGETHER
Whenever my swing gets a little funky, I go back and check to see that my right arm isn’t drifting too far away from my body when I make a backswing. A little separation is fine, but a real loss of connection means it’s going to be a challenge to re-sync my arm swing with my body pivot on the way down, so my timing isn’t off. I want everything turning back together, so I’ll often work on keeping my shirt sleeve tucked into my armpit as I make a backswing. Here I’m demonstrating what I mean by bunching my shirt into the armpit as I make a one-handed backswing (pictured). This helps remind me to keep the movement of my arms and body in sync.
BACKSWING: DON’T SWAY
Making a full turn and really loading up the right side as you take the club back is a huge power generator. Do that and you can really hit the ball hard. However, be careful you don’t let your body sway a lot in that direction. That will make it much harder to get back to the ball and produce solid contact. One thing I do to prevent that sway is to make a backswing where my pivot feels centered over the top of the ball (pictured above). Tony will even hold an alignment stick next to the right side of my head as a reminder. If I bump it, I’m swaying too much.