June 21 2013
Justin Rose's flowing swing starts with a solid and strong base. (Hallowell/Getty Images)
By Mark Immelman, Special to PGATOUR.COM
Over the last few years Justin Rose has elevated his stature in the game and has without doubt become one of the leading players on the global stage. Last week at Merion, Rose finally fulfilled the tremendous potential he showed as a youth by putting together a solid final round under some testing conditions to overtake Phil Mickelson for the coveted U.S. Open trophy and the season’s second major.
The young Englishman has long been respected for his quality ball-striking and prowess with an iron -- especially a long iron -- in his hands and for good reason. Rose is sixth in GIR (69.81 percent) and he leads the TOUR in greens in regulation from 200 yards and out. His success has been the product of a few swing adjustments and certainly a lot of hard work and belief. His efforts have been rewarded handsomely. His swing has also become the envy of a lot of golfers – it is fundamentally sound, well balanced, well timed, and its planes (lines) make it both aesthetic and reliable. That being said, all of these positives disguise a beautiful leg action which, in my opinion, is the reason why Justin can make the consistent passes through impact that he so often does.
A stable and dynamic lower body action is crucial to repeating powerful swings, and Justin exhibits a few elements that are worth emulating:
Create solid pivot supports: At set-up, position your feet so that the insteps are underneath the armpits. Bend the knees just slightly and then squeeze them inward just a little to create a sense of muscle engagement and activity (setting the weight across the arches and balls of the feet will aid in this). You should always feel like you could spring strongly upward from your address position. I too often see golfers who just set up lazily to the ball without ever readying the legs for what is upcoming.
Retain the tension: Picture a huge industrial-sized spring that is bolted down to the ground. If you coil and stretch the top of the swing the bottom will activate but it will remain strong. During the backswing wind-up the legs should retain a sense of tension and activity as the weight shifts to the trail heel – you can achieve this by retaining the flexion in the trail knee (right knee for right-handers).
Keep the foundation underneath the swing: During the downswing, the leg (lower-body) action initiates and guides the motion, but it should not leave the swing and the upper body in its wake. Picture the spring again -- when the tension and the top is released the bottom will unwind, but it will not shoot out violently from underneath the top of the spring. Your leg action during the swing should act in the same manner. As you swing downward and through ensure that the legs lead but realize that they do not have to move violently and fast. The knees' journey from the top of the backswing to the end of the follow-through is not very long and every effort should be made to have them lead the start of the downswing. Then finish the follow-through at the same time as the arms and the club. During your practice picture opposing forces – slow, strong and stable for the legs working against the free, fast and flowing swing of the arms and the club’s swing-weight.
Finally, I recommend watching some footage of Rose’s swing. As you do so, however, do not become enamored by the beautiful action; pay attention to the beautiful and strong foundation built underneath it.
Mark Immelman, the brother of PGA TOUR professional Trevor Immelman, is a well-respected golf instructor and head coach of the Columbus State University (Ga.) golf team. For more information about Mark and his instruction, visit his web site, markimmelman.com or follow him on Twitter @mark_immelman or “Like” Mark Immelman Golf Instruction on Facebook. He also has a golf instruction e-book called “Consistently Straight Shots – The Simple Solution” available on iTunes/iBooks.