Tiger Woods Swing Sequence
by Simon Holmes
The biggest change in golf instruction over
the last 50 years has been the video camera.
One of Ben Hogan’s regrets was that
he only worked on what he thought he
did, not what he actually did. Thanks to
modern technology, you have the reality
at your fingertips.
You are about to study the
swing of the world’s No.1 player, Tiger
Woods. It’s a swing of sheer athletic
power and poise. Use these still images
to get a picture in your mind of the key
positions that you can try to copy to
build a chain-reaction of your own: a consistent
swing that will reward you with
more solid ball-striking.
One of the secrets to getting better
and practising effectively is that you
rehearse one or two simple things a
thousand times - and not a thousand different
things once! Pay particular attention
to the set-up, the takeaway and the
top of the backswing positions, all of
which are clearly related in a wonderful
chain of motion. Use a video to check on
your progress as often as you can. That
way you will be aware of any unconscious
changes that may creep in (and
which otherwise would go undetected).
This angle is called the
'down the line’ view and
we use it to analyse the
geometry of the golf swing - i.e.
the posture, the body angles and
the plane (or inclination) of the
swing. Because the golf swing
starts at what is essentially a static
position, good balance at address
is vital. Tiger sets his lower body
perfectly. Notice how he keeps his
hips 'on top’ of the balls of his feet,
which means his lower body is in a
perfect position to store the power
of his turn. Because his lower body
is so balanced, he can naturally set
his back and neck in a textbook
Take as much from this image as
you possibly can, and rehearse
your posture in front of a mirror.
There are two key things
to observe in Tiger’s takeaway.
The first is that he
displays no independent hand or
arm motion. The 'engine’ controlling
the takeaway is clearly his
torso, with his left arm working
across the chest. The second key
is that his shoulders are turning
exactly on plane - i.e. at 90
degrees to his spine angle.
Tiger has improved this position a
great deal, and we can see how
square the clubface is as the shaft
approaches a position horizontal to
the ground. Tiger used to get the
clubface pointing more down
towards the ground at this
stage (i.e. 'shut’), but now,working
on an improved plane, and with
good rotation in his arms and torso,
he has changed for the better.
I see a huge difference in
this position from years
gone by. The club shaft is
now working up on a much shallower
plane and the right elbow
and left elbow are now more or
less level. This has been the result
of Hank Haney’s work and Tiger
believes he has more stability in
his swing and therefore more controlled
As per the graphic, we can see
that Tiger is swinging the club
more on one plane, the shaft at
this stage clearly relating to the
angle of the shaft at the set-up.
The red line we have superimposed
here illustrates where he
used to be - a much steeper
backswing plane. So we can
see that Tiger has made
huge changes in his
Top of the Backswing
Tiger’s arm plane is flatter
than it once was,more
level with the shoulders,
while the position of the right arm
has changed drastically. During the
Butch Harmon years, Tiger’s arm
plane was steeper than his shoulder
plane. This got Tiger’s right
arm more in front of his right
shoulder at the top of the backswing,
which gave him a steeper
angle of attack but did keep his
arms in front of his body.
The coil of the body is just so
perfect: in balance, on plane
totally wound up. Another benefit
from Hank Haney’s work is the
square clubface, matching up with
the angle of the left forearm.
Here we can see the real
athleticism of Tiger, and
the benefit of all those
hours in the gym. He is strong
enough to be able to start his
left hip rotating back towards
the target while keeping his
back facing the target.
guarantees a perfect delivery
position - and some serious
speed. This is all about
mobility, stability and strength.
Get in the gym!
Just try getting your
hips this open with your
shoulders that shut.
Wow! Here is a serious athlete
showing us his moves. The shaft
plane is releasing down the
right forearm and Tiger is rotating
extremely hard with his core.
One of the things I feel he will
improve in the future is that gap
between his left arm and the left
side of his chest. I think he will
gradually also stay a little taller
through the ball, which will help
him to maintain the 'connection’
between the upper left arm and
the left side of the chest.
The shaft now exits
on plane, which
means no hands-flip
through impact, and - especially
for Tiger - lower
hands through impact.
Tiger’s Achilles heel will forever
be high hands through
impact caused from that
separation of the left arm
away from the body as he
drives and unwinds (see
frame 6). High hands with
lots of power means lost
shots to the right, or a shut
clubface - two bad misses.
Tiger has improved this and
he continues to progress.
copy here is
the balance. Never
swing harder or
faster than you can
stay in balance at
the finish. It will be
fun to see how
Tiger improves in
the future, and to
see his swing
thing’s for sure: he
is getting better.