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Tyler Ferrell is the only person in the world named to Golf Digest's list of Best Young Teachers in America AND its list of Best Golf Fitness Professionals in America. Meet your new instructor.
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Swing Analysis - Charles Howell III - Iron Play

Charles Howell III has been a staple on tour since his rookie year; he is currently ranked #19 on the PGA Tour's all-time money list and is continuing to climb. In this analysis video, we will look at what makes Charles such a great iron player, starting with his impact position and analyzing aspects such as low-point control, shaft lean, and wrist orientations.

Playlists: Swing Analysis Videos

Tags: Iron, Analysis

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In this analysis video, we're going to take a look at the swing of Charles Howell III.

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And in this particular analysis video, we're going to look specifically at his Iron Play.

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Charles was gracious enough to send me a couple swings from a recent practice session

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at Iowa.

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And I'm going to talk to you about what I think has made him such an elite level iron

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player over the last 20 years or so.

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I'll do a second video where we'll talk a little bit about what's going on with his

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driver and how it relates to his fitness program.

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But in this particular video, we're going to look at what makes him such a good iron

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player.

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Whenever I analyze Iron Play, I want to start at impact.

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There are a few keys to being a really good iron player.

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And one of them is looking at the shape of the swing and the low point control.

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So Charles is really good at creating a lot of lag and that helps him create a lot of

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chef lean.

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We can see here from the face on camera angle that there's not much going on as far

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as turf contact until after the golf ball.

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So it's right around this frame here that we start to see the scuff of the turf and

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the divot form.

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So if we go back to just before impact, the tour average is somewhere around four, four

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and a half, five inches in front of the golf ball having the bottom of the divot or the

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low point, at least with kind of the mid and short irons.

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So what we'll see is that's right around where this divot is forming there.

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Now most golfers get the bottom of the swing forward through a combination of there are

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movements as well as body rotations.

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Charles tends to be a little bit, let's say under rotated as far as his body positions.

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So he gets it there more with what he's doing with his wrist and shoulders.

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But when it comes the iron play, as long as you get the bottom of the swing forward,

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which happens when you create this shaft lean as long as the club that is still traveling

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down, you're going to strike the ball relatively solidly.

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So then as long as you have a club face that's relatively aligned to your target and

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a club path that's close to neutral definitely doesn't have to be zero can be, I'd

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like to give a guideline of kind of plus or minus five degrees into outer out to in.

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Five degrees into out with irons can make it really tough to get the bottom of the swing

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forward or that far forward.

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But as long as your path is somewhere around neutral, your face is somewhat pointed at

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the target and you create the shaft lean, you're going to tend to strike a lot of iron

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shots really well.

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In fact, I tell some students that I think it's the geometry of the swing that's probably

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more important with the irons, but when it comes to the longer clubs and the driver

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specifically, I'm looking a lot more at the dynamics.

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I'm looking at how the body is moving in order to get into this position.

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And that's what we're going to focus on in the follow up video when we look at his driver

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play.

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So in order to get your hands and the handle further forward, you have to build a pretty

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good release pattern.

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And part of that includes letting your arms extend and letting the club bottom out with

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still retaining some extension of that trail risk and more flexion than where you started

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at setup in the lead wrist.

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So if I go back to setup here, we can see that that lead wrist has an angle of about 35 degrees.

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It's kind of like this.

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And then when he gets to impact, it's pretty close to flat.

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So he is gone this way about 35 degrees.

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That helps him get his hands more forward.

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Now one of the unique things to Charles of Pattern compared to a lot of tour pros is in

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transition, he loses that extension and then gets it later in the swing.

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So here we can see at the top of the swing he's got a little bit of, it's pretty close to

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the neutral or a little bit flexed.

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And then right around there, it's kind of tricky to see at this particular angle, but

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you can see that the wrist has a little bit more cup in that position.

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So between here and the top of the swing, he's extended that wrist a little bit.

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So then from there down to impact is when he's flexing that wrist, which helps control

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that low point or get that low point more out in front.

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He golfer's flex the wrist just earlier or straight away from the top of the swing.

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But it shows you that you don't necessarily have to do it early.

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You can do it late, especially with the iron play.

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As long as you get the geometry that allows you to hit ball first contact by having the

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low point forward and the reasonable clubface and path, you're going to hit a lot of really

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good iron shots.

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So if you're analyzing your own swing, start it impact, look for shaft lean.

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If we don't have shaft lean, look to this position here, follow through position.

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And I want you to see did I stay in my angle, did my arms continue to straighten?

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So did I get width here in the follow through?

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If let's say these arms were bent and I've stood up, then it shows that on the way through,

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I'm probably kind of letting the club pass my body and releasing the angles more like this

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as opposed to letting the arms extend out more like that.

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I've got lots of videos on the site to help you with your release position or release movements

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and really coordinating this follow through position.

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But if you want to be a pretty good iron player, if you just master what's going on here

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as far as the location of your upper body and the timing and the way that you straighten

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your arms, you can hit a lot of greens, you can be a really good iron player.

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In the next video, we're going to take a look at his sequencing and we're going to talk

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about his power source and how he can sometimes cause a little bit of trouble with face control,

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especially with the driver.

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