Take a lesson
from watching the the perfect balance of Louis
How did Louis Oosthuizen survive the wind at Saint
Andrews to become the 2010 Open Champion by 7 strokes?
If you have ever played golf
in howling winds, as can be the norm at many of
Scotland’s link side courses, the key to keeping your
shots in play comes down to maintaining backswing
Oosthuizen won the Open
because he was the only golfer who hit the most fairways
for the week, and was never in any serious trouble.
The Old Course is not
technically difficult compared with many other major
championship layouts. However, if your ball goes out of
play, or ends up in one of the many treacherous bunkers,
you are seldom left with any chance of a good recovery,
as witnessed by the number of multiple bogeys over the
I found this video of Oosthuizen’s golf swing because I feel he has many
excellent swing features that we can learn from. As you
look at his backswing you will notice that he has “zero”
head movement which is an indication of perfect swing
Contrast his backswing against
other top pro swings and you will observe subtle head
movement in their swings.
When those pros face 20-35 MPH
winds, that head movement becomes more pronounced
resulting in inconsistencies on their downswing….as was
the case with Paul Casey when he was severely punished
by one wayward drive that cost him a triple bogey and
took him out of any contention.
So how do you improve
Backswing balance is achieved
by a single focus of “rotation around your turning axis”
to avoid any lateral sway.
Here are a few things that you
can try on your backswing:
·Make sure your legs are
wide enough to establish a solid base and are not too
close together in your stance
·Rotate the left
shoulder to start the take away to encourage backswing
“rotation”...as against starting with arm and hand
movement which encourages backward sway
·Maintain a firm right
leg with your weight on the inside of your right foot to
avoid any backward movement of your turning axis
·Swing within the range
of your natural golf muscle flexibility to avoid
·Maintain a slow and
smooth take away to avoid build up of backswing club
head momentum that will pull your turning axis backwards
The best place to improve your
swing balance is by swinging in front of a mirror and
watching for head movement.
Place a piece of tape on the
mirror and try to keep your head positioned on the tape.
(If you are swinging in
doors, watch out for the light fixtures. Your golf
career could be short lived if you hit anything!)
Head movement is reduced by
focusing on "rotation, rotation, rotation" to eliminate
you have tried all you can and still cannot stop your
head movement, you have too much muscle tension in your
Tension in your backswing
causes swing break downs and disrupts a smooth turn. Your next step is to shorten
your backswing to reduce tension, and or stretch your
golf muscles to achieve more flexibility.
By practicing your turn in
front of a mirror and setting a backswing range that
reduces head movement, the limit of that range will be
where you find your greatest swing consistency.
With that comes improved
timing and accuracy as we experienced watching Louis's
driving performance at Saint Andrews...
Based on what we have seen at
the 2010 Open, we are going to see more of Louis Oosthuizen’s swing in the years to come as he develops
into a top multiple major contender....