When I watch golf swings, even swings of great players such as Rory Mcilroy, it makes me cringe a bit inside my body. Don’t get me wrong, like everyone who loves golf, I enjoy watching him play golf, hit towering drives and win tournaments. I am a big fan of Rory. But I don’t see how the average golfer can really look at Rory’s golf swing as a swing model. Rory is in his early 20’s. He’s young, flexible and fit. He has hit thousands of golf balls to work through his swing movements and motions. His body has developed around his movements. Do I see some good things in his swing? Absolutely. But one thing that troubles me about paying too much attention to young tour players is that many people will try to model Rory – which can be a big mistake. Lets look at some particulars.
Without going into a complete breakdown of Rory’s entire golf swing, it is interesting to look closely into his downswing move. Keep in mind that I am not looking for positions here, I am looking for the stress it places on the body in regards to the task of reaching impact. (Impact is the goal of all great ball strikers). The perspective I take is that all golf swings are to achieve a perfect strike on the golf ball. The ability to reach impact starts at address. In other words if you start in a mis-aligned position you must adjust during your swing to make impact. The more mis-aligned you start the more contorted you swing. The problem here is that contortions are not efficient, repeatable or consistent. And these contortions can be disastrous to good ball-striking. Even worse, they can be extremely painful if you are not a 20-something year old Rory.
If you notice in the third picture in the sequence, you can see the crunched look of Rory’s right arm against his body. His right shoulder is jamming upward toward his head as his arms move downward. As the sequence continues, his lead leg straightens and his body move up as his arms move down – further crunching his shoulders agains his torso that is moving upward due to his leg straightening. Once again, I am a huge fan of Rory, but I don’t think that this is the easiest way to get the job done for a 50 year old golfer. What I see here is a great athlete with mobility. Let me compare this with Moe Norman.
What you see from the movement forward is what I call “arm freedom”. You can see with Moe the arms have released as the lead knee has remained flexed. This shows that the arms have gone down with the body contrasting what you see with Rory where the lower body has lifted (straighten left leg) pushing the upper body up as the arms go down – crunching the shoulders and causing Rory to lean backward. This creates a reversing of the upper body or Reverse “C”.
One thing to note here is that Rory is a minimal example of this. He actually shows must less of this distortion than most conventional golfers. And as I have said in previous descriptions, this is all caused from an improper “two-plane” address position. The two plane swing comes in many forms, some more pronounced than others, sometimes in disastrous amounts. In all cases, however, the distortion of the upper body / lower body stress is a problem. I consider it a spatial problem where the conventional golfer is too close to the golf ball to start with. This results in stresses and problems reaching impact.
These things can be eliminated with the Single Plane golf swing of Moe Norman. And when they are eliminated, reaching impact is more consistent and repeatable resulting in better ball striking. The goal is to eliminate the lower body upward push. The way to do this is to get the appropriate distance from the golf ball where you start the club on the same plane at address as impact.