As excited as I am regarding Rickie Fowler’s win at the Wells Fargo Championship, I am even more ecstatic about Fred Funk winning for the first time in two years on the Champions Tour at the Insperity Championship. Now of course I am a bit biased, being that Fred has been a student of mine for the last year. However, understanding everything that Fred has went through to get back into the winner’s circle, it truly is an amazing story.
So to you, Rickie, I apologize for this week’s blog but look forward to writing about many more wins to come – perhaps at this year’s PLAYERS Championship.
Like so many here in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla., we all watched in anticipation as Funk birdied four of the last five to win by one over Tom Lehman. Over the last year, Fred has worked really hard to get his game back to the highest level. One of the keys to his game was to create an environment with all shots where he could find the bottom of the swing more instinctively.
With putting and his short game, the importance lied in the address position where with the full swing it came into understanding his body motion.
Putting – Many times over the years I have discussed the relevance of the right forearm at address. What’s important is keeping the right forearm is on the same plane angle as the putter shaft. When this occurs, the putterhead has a much better chance to move on a natural arc with the bottom occurring at impact.
Short game – One of the keys to the bottom of the arc in short game is to get the sternum over the golf ball. Like many players, Fred has a tendency to get the sternum behind the ball, which can lead to some inconsistency. With the sternum more over the ball, the clubhead bottoms out consistently past the ball, leading to more instincts around the green.
Full swing – One of the keys for Fred is to keep his head centered during the swing. One of the most common errors for better players is their head moves too much off the ball (righthanded golfer – to the right). Therefore, the key is to feel the lead shoulder move on a steeper angle and/or the feeling as if the spine leans a bit towards the target. This keeps the head more centered and allows once again a more repeatable divot through impact.
This full-swing thought is something you are seeing a lot in today’s game. Much of this comes from the study of biomechanics in the golf swing. Leaders in biomechanics in our industry include Dr. Phil Cheetham, Dr. Rob Neal, Andy Plummer, Mike Bennett and others that have done a great job in enhancing how the pivot is taught. Although the pivot is not everything, it has great value when controlling the bottom of the swing arc.
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 .