Haas captures first TOUR victory with a little flareJanuary 26, 2010
Travis Fulton, TOUR Academies Director of Instruction
We have all heard the old saying, "the golf swing starts from the ground up" and this week it certainly held true. After missing the cut at the Sony Open in Hawaii last week, Bill Haas got a head start to the West Coast Swing as he came in early to Southern California to work on his game. Searching for answers to get his ball striking back on track, golf instructor Bill Harmon suggested that he should flare out his right foot a bit.
Simple enough, right?
Well, just a week removed from missing the cut to winning your first PGA TOUR title at the Bob Hope Classic -- I'd say that was a pretty good tip.
How you set your feet at address certainly plays a role in how the golf swing will work. For Haas, simply flaring his trail foot out more away from the ball allowed him to make a fuller turn during the backswing. This improved motion allowed the club to get in a better position at the top of the swing and improved his overall timing back to impact. If only the golf swing was this simple for all of us.
Let's break down the role of the footwork in the swing a bit further.
The trail foot needs to be in a position that will allow for enough rotation in the trail hip during the backswing. This hip rotation allows the upper body to rotate as well and load up properly into the trailing side. Generally speaking, if you flare out the trail foot away from the ball this will encourage more rotation; however, this foot flare can also promote lateral motion as well, which you don't want during the backswing. A very common error for golfers is to move the hips laterally during the backswing, resulting in a sway. Therefore, if you flare out the trail foot like Haas, make sure you are rotating around a bent trail knee and not swaying.
The lead foot in the swing also needs to be in a position that will allow for some weight shift and rotation around the lead hip. This weight shift preferably should start the downswing where the pelvis slides from the trail leg into the left leg. This is lateral motion and is only recommended on the initial downswing. Again, if you flare the foot away from the ball this will encourage more rotation, where if you square up the lead foot it will decrease this rotation.
The reality is that some of us need more rotation while others need to decrease the amount of rotation. Regardless, your footwork at address -- to flare or not to flare -- should only help to shape and support what happens during the swing.
Well, I gotta give props to another Northwest native Alex Prugh on his performance at the Bob Hope Classic. Born and raised in Spokane, Washington - just one hour from where I grew up across the Idaho border - I have followed Alex from his younger days on the Washington Junior Tour to now a very promising beginning to his professional career on the PGA TOUR.
Like the Haas family, the Prughs are an accomplished golf family as well. Alex's brother Corey was a very good player growing up where like Alex, he too played for the University of Washington. Just recently, Corey won the 2009 Rosauers Open -- which is a well respected professional event in the Pacific Northwest. Alex's father Steve is also a great player in his own right and the head professional at the beautiful Manito Golf and Country Club in Spokane.
On Monday, I am sure the entire golfing community of the Inland Empire was watching as Alex finished fifth just two behind winner Haas. A lot to be proud of this week not only in the Haas household and their hometown of Greer, S.C. but also at the Prugh home in Spokane.
.ravis Fulton is PGA TOUR Academy's Director of Instruction. His views do not necessarily reflect the views of the PGA TOUR. To learn more about the TOUR Academy, [click here].