Our PGA Professional Richard gives you some top tips on how to keep your swing as consistent as Rory
If you look at the two photos in this article of Rory McIlroy’s set up from both a face on and down the line angle, you’ll see how comfortable and prepared he looks to hit the ball. Although it may look natural and athletic, Rory works hard with his coach Michael Bannon to ensure his set up remains consistent throughout the season because he knows the importance of creating the solid foundation upon which his powerful and accurate swing is built.
Rory spends hours and hours on the practice range and in the gym to enable him to generate high clubhead speeds with excellent control and balance and although the average golfer may not be able to devote this much time to improving his or her game, there’s no reason why you can’t set up in the same way as Rory.
There are few keys, in particular, for the average golfer to observe and copy, so let’s look firstly at the face on photo:
1. The first thing to notice is the width of Rory’s stance. The inside of his feet are around the same width as his shoulders and this wide base is a key to ensure that he has the stability to be able to rotate his upper body powerfully during the swing.
2. His right shoulder is lower than his left and his spine is tilted back to the right, as you can see by his shirt buttons. Setting his upper body in this way enables Rory to create a wide arc and turn powerfully into his right side in the backswing. He also returns his upper body into this position at impact, which delivers the clubhead on the ideal shallow angle of attack to sweep the ball off the tee with the driver and create the correct launch angle.
3. The ball is positioned towards the left heel, which helps to set the upper body correctly and further helps to create a shallow angle of attack where you feel that you’re hitting up on the ball to sweep it off the tee correctly.
4. Notice how Rory’s left arm and the shaft of the club are in one line, so that the club looks like an extension of his arm. Rory returns his left arm and club into this position at impact, which creates a powerful and solid strike with a square clubface and no break down or flipping of the wrists, which is often seen in average golfers as they attempt to get the ball in the air.
Now let’s look at the above photo from down the line
1. The first thing to notice is the superb angles that Rory creates with his body, particularly how well he keeps his spine and neck in one line with his chin up. This allows him to turn his shoulders around his spine correctly in the backswing, producing a powerful coil in the process.
2. Rory’s hands are positioned below his chin and the arms are hanging naturally and comfortably from his shoulder sockets, which allows him to get the clubhead travelling on the correct inside path in the backswing and keep the clubhead in front of the hands as it makes the initial move away.
3. A key swing thought for Rory is to maintain his balance throughout his swing, even when he’s swinging as fast as he can and he gives himself the best chance of doing this by balancing himself correctly at address. He does this by creating a wide and stable base and also by ensuring that his weight is evenly distributed between the heels and balls of his feet as can be seen in the photo.
4. One final key area to notice about Rory’s set up is the gap between his hands and legs. As a general rule, there should be about a hands width gap, which is what can be seen in Rory’s set up and this ensures that there’s enough room for the hands to swing through correctly during impact. If you stand too close without enough of a gap, it’s very difficult for the hands and arms to swing through correctly and you’ll end up with an inconsistent shot pattern.
Therefore, although you may not have the physical attributes or the time to devote to practice, if you can ensure a consistent and accurate set up like Rory’s on every shot, then you’ll maximize your ability to hit good shots more often. If you can use a mirror or a friend to give you feedback on your set up or, better still, have a lesson with a PGA professional, then you’ll quickly start to ingrain the feeling of what the correct set up should look and feel like and be on your way to better and more consistent golf.
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