Michelle is a joy to work with for many reasons -- her great natural talent, her work ethic, her desire to be the best. But most exciting is that we don't know what she's capable of; she might change the game as we know it.
A couple of years ago, Michelle had a powerful golf swing, but with a few adolescent flaws. She used to move off the ball going back, overswing, and have an overly active hip clearance and hand action, which put too much emphasis on timing through impact. We've worked hard to eliminate that wasted motion, which has improved her ball-striking consistency. Today her swing is very repeatable.
For a tall player, Michelle has superb posture. We've tweaked her set-up angles, and she now has a solid foundation to support her big swing. She maintains her angles beautifully as she turns to the top, building a tremendous amount of torque. We've basically tightened up her backswing a bit, without sacrificing her wide arc and full-body coil. With a more compact backswing, she's able to drive it in play more regularly and have much greater iron control.
Michelle doesn't like to put a lot of curve on the ball, but she does play a soft draw. As a result of her high, wide arc combined with her speed, she hits her middle and long irons with a high trajectory into the greens, creating a lot of spin, a trait most LPGA players don't have.
Michelle hits the ball 280 yards under normal conditions, so she is only average length on the men's tour. She knows she has to get longer and stronger to compete -- and she's definitely up for the challenge. Michelle's turning 16 on Oct. 11, and we've only seen the tip of the iceberg as far as her potential is concerned. Her drive to be golf's first global player, competing in men's and women's events, is intense. She really could take the game in a new direction.
Based at ChampionsGate near Orlando, David Leadbetter operates 26 golf academies worldwide.