By Travis Fulton, Director of Instruction, TOUR Academies
Two of the most unorthodox swings in golf belong to Jim Furyk and Ryan Moore, this week’s CIMB Classic winner in Malaysia. CBS commentator David Feherty once said that Furyk’s swing resembled that of “an octopus falling out of a tree,” and Moore’s motion doesn’t fall far from the same tree. At address, he crouches down low with his hands very close to his body, setting up an unusually steep takeaway and backswing in which his left arm is almost vertical to the ground. On the downswing, he loops the club to the inside much like Furyk, clearing his left hip out of the way to deliver the club shaft on-plane.
It may look very strange, but here’s the thing: It works. Moore ranked 14th in driving accuracy on the PGA TOUR in 2013, while Furyk was fourth. At the Memorial Tournament presented by Nationwide Insurance in May, Moore hit an astonishing 54 of 56 fairways (96.4 percent), including 39 in a row at one point. And at the CIMB Classic, he hit 75 percent of his greens in regulation, stuffing an 8-iron approach to 4 feet on the first playoff hole to set up the tournament-winning putt.
What can the average golfer take away from Moore’s swing? Plenty. First of all, when you have that much plane shift and movement, like he does, you must have well-educated hands. Moore has a great feel for what the club shaft, clubhead, and clubface are doing through impact. Coming into delivery, his right wrist is bent and the shaft is “lying” down on his right forearm, so that the sensitivity of the clubhead can be felt through the trigger finger of the right hand. This helps him maintain the lag of the clubhead on his downswing and through impact.
The image of the shaft lying down on the right forearm during the transition is a good one for amateurs, because so many times the shaft runs away from the forearm (toward the target line) and gets too vertical. In other words, it comes over the top. During the first half of the downswing, you want to have the feeling that the right elbow is swinging down toward your right hip, and the shaft is resting flat against the underside of your right forearm. This helps you to drop the clubhead down to the inside with sufficient clubhead lag.
The second thing Moore does well -- and this is what really makes his swing work -- is that as he clears his hips, he pushes his left hip back. This frees up space for his hands to return to where they started at address. When you set up with your hands so close to your body, as he does, you have to really push your hips back through impact, otherwise, you’d miss the ball entirely.
Amateurs typically move their pelvis in toward the ball through impact, which causes them to lose their spine angle (i.e., stand up) and hit the ball thin or heavy. To maintain your posture through impact and hit the ball solidly, you must keep the hips back. As a drill, set up as normal with a chair behind you, gently applying pressure to your back side. As you start down from the top, have the feeling that your buttocks are sliding forward against the chair and that later, closer to impact, the left hip is pushing the chair back. It’s almost as if you’re trying to nudge the chair off-balance with your left hip. Practicing this way with a chair will help you maintain your spine angle and hit more laser-like approach shots and drives like Moore.
Travis Fulton is Director of Instruction for all TOURAcademy locations nationwide. For more game-improvement tips from the TOURAcademy instructors, on-the-spot club recommendations and 3D previews of each hole you play, download the TOURCaddie PRO app at www.pgatourcaddie.com.