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Swing Analysis Videos

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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.

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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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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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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