February 28 2012
By Travis Fulton, Director of Instruction, TOUR Academy
This just in, Hunter Mahan just made another birdie. That was an incredible mix of ball-striking and putting Mahan displayed with his win in the World Golf Championships-Accenture Match Play Championship. Sometimes, all it takes is a new putter, and things just fall into place on the green. A new look, a new history and for some reason, the ball just starts falling in the hole. If only was that easy for all of us.
Mahan has worked hard on his short game over the last year in an attempt to get his performance around the greens as impressive as his ball-striking. Hunter’s golf swing is one that I really like, from the way he uses the swing plane, clubface and body motion. It is a great example of the modern swing that yields respectable power and impressive consistency.
One of the positions we can learn from Mahan’s swing is how he moves the club during the initial takeaway. One of the most common errors amateurs make during the takeaway is they move the entire clubshaft off plane where the hands move away from the body and the clubhead moves to the inside. This can be measured when the clubshaft reaches parallel to the ground, and the hands are outside the toe-line with the club head well behind the hands.
Mahan takes the club shaft away just the opposite where he allows his hands to move more to the inside by keeping his left arm attached to his chest. As the shoulders turn, it is important that the left arm stays on the chest so the hands can move to the inside and over the toe-line. Secondly, Mahan allows the clubhead to move up and in. With the club head starting on the ground, it is critical that the club head not only moves in but also up as a function of the trail elbow folding, and the lead wrist cocking.
When blended properly, the club shaft will not only be parallel to the ground, but also the target line and directly over the toe-line. This is a great position to get into during the initial takeaway and one that Hunter Mahan has simply mastered.
Travis Fulton is the Director of Instruction at the TOUR Academies at TPC Sawgrass and the World Golf Village. For more information on the TOUR Academy, click here.