The Silver Scott - Scott Drummond
When Scott Drummond arrived at Wentworth for the 2004 Volvo PGA Championship, he was 396th on the Official World Ranking. In three years on the European Tour he had won barely £25,000. After an amateur career in which he had been an international at boys, youth and senior level, life in the paid ranks was a struggle.
What happened next was straight from the Happy Gilmore school of improbability: come Sunday-and a scintillating final round of 64-the 30-year-old had equalled the PGA tournament record with a 19-under-par total of 269 that earned him a two-shot victory over Argentina's Angel Cabrera. He left Wentworth with a cheque for £420,000 in his pocket and a priceless five-year exemption on the European Tour.
Scott has always been a winner - he's won at every level he's played at and as his coach I have always been confident that he could succeed on tour. Over the last couple of years he has improved his ball-striking and his control of ball flight, thanks chiefly to a more dynamic posture that helps him to maintain better body angles and 'sync' the motion of his arms and body. Let's take a look at Scott in action and identify the elements of his swing that can help you.
Coordination - all geared for impact
Like every good player, Scott displays a balanced set-up position with ideal alignment of the shoulders, hips, feet and knees. What I like most is the way he maintains a 'dynamic' posture, his weight on the balls of his feet (not back on his heels - more on this overleaf). With the knees flexed and 'set' over the insides of the feet, the lower body is geared up to provide
the necessary resistance (and balance) as the upper body turns and coils.
Note, also, that the arms and shoulders show a perfect V formation with the elbows set the ideal distance apart, while the chin is up and away from the chest to allow
for a full and uninhibited turn. Once underway, a free arm-swing allows Scott to maintain a square clubface throughout the backswing. We work specifically on 'matching' the turn of the right hip with the upward movement of the arms and the clubshaft. (If the right hip slides - as opposed to turning - the club gets too far to the inside and behind his body.)
As he reaches the top we can see that he has maintained a good relationship between the elbows and has achieved good width with the hands 'stretched' away from the right shoulder. Face on, look at how the upper body has coiled up against the lower body - a full and dynamic shoulder turn, while his his weight is 'loaded' into the right side. The spring is loaded, and as he starts down, unwinding all that energy, the clubshaft falls onto perfect plane as the arms and body work together on the way to impact. He delivers the club with a slightly delayed hit position which matches up perfectly at impact. Note how the arms have returned close to the body, giving Scott great control of the clubface. There is no loss of height or spine angle. At the moment of impact, the triangle created by the arms at address returns perfectly in front of the body - the key components of his swing look well 'connected'
A fast hand action sees the arms swing past his body and a tendency for him to lean back a little at the finish. But, overall, a swing made in great balance.
Biomechanical studies have shown us that the weight and energy of top players tends to travel from the ball of right foot to the ball of the left foot (in a relatively straight line) through impact. To improve your weight distribution, and general sense of this dynamic, practise hitting shots with a ball under each heel.
Understand the role of the right arm and elbow
Here's one of the secrets to a great backswing-the movement and position of the right arm during the first few feet of the swing: it's vital the right elbow remains in front of the body, the forearms rotating gently to allow the clubface to remain square. Warning! Resist the temptation to manipulate the clubface with your hands as this can lead to an overly open or closed clubface position and an independent wrist action.
Creating and maintaining good posture is one of the keys to a repeating golf swing -hence the vital importance of a good set-up position. The way in which you angle your body to aim and create posture determines not only the shape of your swing but your overall sense of balance.
Study the best players in action and you will notice that they establish what we term a 'dynamically balanced' position at the set-up, one that helps them to create a powerful and consistent swing. A player's weight distribution is key to this: rather like a goal-keeper in anticipation of saving a penalty, a good player stands with the majority of his weight on the balls of the feet - poised and ready for action. This has a beneficial impact on your posture - there tends to be a little less flex in the knees, the hips are higher, the upper body feels raised and the arms hang more down from the shoulders.
As the hands and arms approach waist high (left), the club - having now gathered some early momentum - is ready to swing up on a more upward plane. And this is where the onus is on you to harmonise the folding of the right elbow with the 'setting' of the wrists. After a few repetitions of the drill (far left), you will find that as the right elbow begins to work away correctly in front of your body, so it will be encouraged to fold neatly as the wrists set the shaft upward and onto the correct backswing plane. Once you have negotiated this initial sequence, from halfway back it is a relatively simple matter of completing the rotation of the upper body to reach the top of the back-swing - the arms and torso matching up nicely in terms of their relative speed.
To summarise, we are looking for a simple sequence of turning away, the forearms rotating naturally, and then allowing the right elbow to fold as the wrists set the club upward - all this with the arms remaining comfortably in front of the body, ensuring a simple backswing movement with the club always on plane.