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Swing Analysis Videos

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Swing Analysis - Charles Howell III - Driver & Fitness Program

As a follow-up to the previous analysis video, we will now take a look at the dynamics of Charles Howell III's driver swing. Specifically, we will discuss how a player's dominant power source can reveal his/her tendencies for sequencing and miss patterns. We will also discuss how a properly designed fitness program can improve these items. As I have had the privilege to work with Charles in a one-on-one setting, this analysis video may also provide a better idea of how I approach coaching and training such an elite level player.

Tags: Driver, Analysis

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So in this analysis video, we're going to take a look at the driver swing of Charles Hald III.

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So in the first video, I did an analysis of his iron play and how geometry can really help make you a really good iron player.

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In this video, I'm going to talk a little bit more about the dynamics of his swing.

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And specifically, I'm going to share a little story about his fitness program and how that,

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how he trains his body can influence how well he's hitting his driver.

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Okay, so if we start this swing analysis the same way, if we look at the driver swing,

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we can see that he's got some pretty good track man numbers, right?

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Overall pretty neutral path, slightly close, so he's going to get a nice little draw,

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hitting slightly up on the ball. This is something that he and his coach have worked on the ability to do.

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That's helped him a lot, really solid numbers. So the question is, okay, he's got really good path numbers.

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Why would someone like Charles Hald tend to get some open club face issues?

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Because he'll tell you that his main miss is when he hits the ball off to the right.

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So I'm going to talk to you about what's going on in his swing that might contribute to that

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and how it might relate to your game if you struggle with either your driver or your iron play.

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So if we look at this position, shaft is pretty vertical. So even though he has lean or

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leg compared to his body, similar to what he had with the iron because his upper body is so much

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more behind the golf ball, the shaft is pretty vertical. That's one of the aspects that helps

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with that positive angle of attack. He's from the down the line, we saw that the club path was

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neutral. If we're looking at some of these checkpoints as far as where the club is passing

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compared to the hands, you can see two little checkpoints as far as where is the club in the

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follow-through when it kind of passes through the hands, the more that it passes on this side of the

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hands, the more it's going to be in and out and the more that it passes on this side of the hands,

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the more it's going to be out to in. So a lot of you golfers who slice the ball, you'll have the

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club kind of follow-up path from impacts where it'll go a little bit more low kind of like this.

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So anyway, he's got pretty good path numbers from these two which you can kind of see a little bit

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from the two checkpoints. Seeing that risk go into extension there in the down swing, it's often

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hard to see. So here is a 3D risk graph looking at flexion extension. So this is an older swing of

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Charles. He's actually worked on this and definitely gotten better at it. So you can see that he starts

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with the risk than about 35 degrees of extension and then during the backswing as he gets towards the

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top of the swing it's pretty close to flat but you can see right through here is he's starting to

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go towards extension until about delivery positions. I midway in the down swing and then from there

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when it goes positive like this that's when he's flexing that risk. So we can see right around here

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is where that little trough or that maximum extension in the down swing would be and then from here

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down to where right around this frame here he would be flexing the risk then lose a little bit as he

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goes through the impact. But what can happen is when you're opening that club face by extending

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the risk early in transition it adds a little bit of timing that you're trying to do when the club

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is moving really fast. The metaphor that I use is imagine we were playing bad men and the role was

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I was giving you heavier and heavier bad men and rackets. So at first with the bad men racket really

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light you can be totally out of position and just lick your wrist and square the club face up.

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But if I gave you a bad man racket that weighed two pounds, three pounds, ten pounds the heavier it

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got the more that you have to be in position earlier in order to line everything up because you

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couldn't rely on just changing it accurately last minute. Well when it comes to the driver the driver

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is a longer club than we swing it faster it's got more inertia. Essentially down at the bottom

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it's like a heavier racket and it becomes harder to then time up squaring the club face late. So a lot

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of the really accurate and really consistent drivers to golf ball tend to square it up early. Now

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I promised I'd talk to you a little bit about his power sources and how they relate. Charles has

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a tendency to pull down with the arms especially the lats. So I'll share a quick story from a

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tournament that I went to with him where they were on the range of this time he was working

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with Grant Wait and they were swinging really well. Had to you know just hit in lots of nice little

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draws and I said I walked over to him because I kind of had this idea about his over dominance

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with his lats and I said hey do you mind if I mess you up a little bit do a little experiment.

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He kind of laughed at me saying like you can't mess me up but low and behold I had him drop the club

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and get into like a lap pull down position so he's kind of like this and I went and put my arms

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underneath him to apply a little bit of resistance and I just had him pull down kind of you know

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a little aggressively just to activate the lats so I had him pull down for about 10 seconds.

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After that he proceeded to hit the next four balls about 40 or 50 yards right.

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So basically all I did was I activated his power source so that he was using more of his lats

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to pull the club down and when he was using more of his lats in transition he tended to open the face a

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little bit more and flare it off to the right. Now he's kind of a

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experimenter tinker by nature so when he went home a few weeks later he tested it out himself.

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He went to the he normally works out and then goes to the range so during his workout one day

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he did a lot of TRX rows and and lap pull type exercises and he said that he hit the ball

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really terribly felt like he was kind of stuck all day and then later in that week he did the

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program that we had designed so he did a lot more mobility work and a lot more stability work

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some end range strength but most of the heavier lifting was for his core and his legs and that

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they hit the ball great. So part of the equation when you're looking at the driver or the longer

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club swing is matching up how you power the swing with how you control the club face and what can

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happen is if you are a two upper body dominant that can tend to cause club face control issues with

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the driver and you typically wouldn't see the same level of control issue with the iron. So you want

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to be if you want to be really good and consistent with the driver we want to get more of the speed

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being created from your legs and your core and less from your arms and shoulders. If you're looking

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for clues with your power source sometimes it's activities away from golf that can help.

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So here's Charles doing an exercise in his gym where he's got swing fan and he's just kind of

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working on some backswing positions and you'll notice if we look at his foot you'll see that he has

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a tendency to get a little bit further down into the downswing before he gets into that heel.

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So you'll see that this right here if we kind of scrub back and forth is a little bit more of the upper

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body leading the core as opposed to the lower body leading the core. So this is an area where doing

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things like step drills and sequence drills helps to get the lower body involved earlier and that

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can also oftentimes kind of downregulate or deep power the upper body that improves your sequencing

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allowing a little bit better face control ultimately creating a little bit better situation for the

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driver. Oftentimes golfers with more of an upper body pull will complain of two situations that

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cause them to hit the ball or to lose face control and both of those situations are when the power

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source gets exaggerated. So one is when they're trying to swing hard so if you are the tendency to swing

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more with your arms and your upper body I advocate working on your rhythm and working on making

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sure that you resist the temptation to swing hard. The second thing is when you get extremely nervous

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when your body gets stressed you're going to tend to exaggerate or amplify your power sources.

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So if you have more of a pulling or arm dominant power source working on managing your emotions

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and breathing exercises and things like that might be helpful as well. But long term if you want

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to improve your driver's sequence I'd highly recommend getting your lower body a little bit more

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involved earlier and relying less on your arm pull for your power source. So this video is a little

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different than my typical analysis videos. Typically with the analysis videos I want to just

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share what golfers do really well but I've got some some inside experience from working with

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Charles personally and so I thought it'd be fun to kind of share how I approach things a little bit

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more on the coaching side.

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