On the Mark: Reed's follow-through
January 22, 2014
- January 22, 2014
- The movement of Patrick Reed's left foot post-impact drew much attention this weekend. (Gross/Getty Images)
By Mark Immelmnan, special to PGATOUR.COM
The Humana Challenge in partnership with the Clinton Foundation took the players to the scenic California Desert and La Quinta where the focus of the week was health and well-being. There was also a little golf played as the field played over three courses in a pro-am style event.
The pros had their way in the perfect conditions and the assault on par was relentless. Indeed the three-round cut came at 9-under. Scoring was paced by Patrick Reed who shot three rounds of 63 for a TOUR record 27-under mark after 54 holes. He “cooled off” somewhat under the final round pressure and shot 71 for 28-under and a two-stroke victory -- his second triumph on the PGA TOUR.
The young Texan has really found his groove over the last year or so and is now a rising star on the TOUR. He hits it a long way with a very smooth swing and has a deft touch around the greens. In the final round at Humana though, a lot was made of a swing nuance that he shows -- a lot of movement in his left foot after impact and into the follow-through.
This excess movement of the lead foot is not something particular to Reed’s swing. It is in fact a trait evident in both Johnny Miller and Bubba Watson’s swings … And we all know how long Bubba is and how accurate Miller was.
It got me to thinking about swing stability and the lesson we can learn from Patrick Reed’s action:
I am a firm believer that every good swing operates around the principle of a stable foundation comprised of a good spine angle and sound leg and footwork. Patrick Reed, however, disproves that argument to a certain extent. Naturally there is an argument to the fact that one’s influence on the golf ball ceases once contact has been made and so what happens beyond contact is somewhat inconsequential. That is true to some extent but do realize also that the follow-through is very much a function of momentum and what has gone before it. So the follow-through can oftentimes signal a flaw that has taken place before it.
In Reed’s case, the instability and movement in the left foot does not happen when he is hitting shots where the goal is precision and accuracy. He is in fact very accurate -- at Humana he hit just under 80 percent of the greens in regulation. The issue only tends to appear when he is lining up to unleash a driver or a long tee-shot.
The movement of Reed’s left foot, which rotates open and then jumps backward a little definitely appears to be the product of his hip rotation -- which is pronounced -- as well the fact that his weight transfer moves forward on the way down and then a little backward as he rotates into his follow-through. To me the action resembles the weight shift of an NFL punter or a place-kicker and in certain respects it is the same way they create leverage and force to deliver a powerful kick.
Its effect on his golf swing lends itself to power. Obviously the rotation of his core is important but the slight backward movement of Patrick Reed’s lead foot keeps his upper body more behind the ball through impact and this body positioning in leads to a more ascending strike. Hitting the driver with a less descending strike is a sure-fire way to launch it higher and this, coupled with less spin, is a guaranteed recipe for extra power.
Now I do not necessarily recommend that you give up sound footwork for more power. You can however create an ascending driver strike if you keep your spine angle tilted away from the ball (as Patrick Reed does) through impact. Set this position at address and the rotate around that slightly tilted hub.
You can also create more torque if you rotate your core through the delivery zone and into the follow-through. This can be facilitated by setting up with your lead foot rotated slightly outward at address as that “open” position leads to improved body rotation on the downswing.
Stability equals the ability to swing harder but an ascending strike and a good rotation of the core (a la Patrick Reed) through impact put a little extra mustard on the tee-shots.
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.