Lee Westwood - The Ultimate Driving Machine
Looking at the sequences below, my eye is automatically drawn to the way in which Lee's shoulders control the entire motion. From the set-up, he maintains his arm and club position to the top with the wonderful movement of his upper body. At the top of the swing both the left arm and the shoulders are at 45 degrees (or thereabouts), and as we have highlighted here he creates a distinct right angle between his left arm and the clubshaft - huge leverage and power there.
Looking down the line, again it all matches up: the left arm and the shoulders are at that 45-degree angle while the clubface matches the wrists. From here, there's no compensation necessary on the way back to the ball - Lee sets it all up on the way back for the delivery on the way down to be perfect.
Let me give you an analogy that underpins my teaching philosophy: think of the body as the engine, the arms and the club as the steering wheel. Ideally, the thing you want your engine to do is purr - never miss a beat. (That's Lee Westwood every time. He has worked hard on his fitness and now he's reaping the benefits with a powerful body action.) But no matter how good the engine or the steering may be, unless the 'linkage' between the two components is up to scratch, you're going nowhere. In the golf swing, that linkage is the shoulder motion - if the shoulders are sound and stable, the transfer of energy down into the golf club will be sound and stable. That's a trademark of the Pete Cowen method.
The problem every golfer has to contend with is the fact that the shoulder unit is hyper mobile - it can go all over the place. There are only so many moving parts to control in making a swing. The wrists move in four ways (up and down, back and forwards). Your elbows do one thing (up and down). But your shoulders can go anywhere they want. So what you as a player have to do is learn how to stabilise their motion - to hold them in position and transfer energy with shoulder stability.
The shoulders themselves are 'linked', left and right, and you will see in the following sequences that Lee achieves this beautifully.What's more, the shoulders stabilise the motion all the way through to the finish. There's no 'looseness'. Which is why the energy is passed so efficiently to the clubhead.
To summarise, the role of the body is thus:
• In the backswing the body helps to 'load' the power and position the club (as you see above)
• Starting the downswing, the shoulder stability helps to reposition the club for delivery into the ball
• Through impact, the body turns to square the clubface and stabilise impact
• Finally, the body helps to slow the club down. Watch a good player, and you'll see that as the body slows to a stop, the arms and the club stop with it - all totally under control.