Driver Swing Sequence: Ernie Els
Ernie makes it easy: Balance helps it all flow.
Looking at Ernie's swing sequence, it's easy to see why so many players at all levels marvel at how he's able to make it look so effortless. A true swinger of the club, Ernie combines balance, power and rhythm in a package that's clearly one of the best actions of all time.
At address, Ernie looks comfortable and balanced, with his arms hanging in front of him and his weight on the balls of his feet. You can see the lack of tension in his arms, which shows that he's got perfect, light grip pressure. With that tension-free grip, Ernie feels as if he's engaging his midsection at the takeaway, and his backswing starts in a smooth, synchronized way.
One of the keys to Ernie's power is his wrist action. Notice the complete wrist set at the midpoint of the backswing, in frame No. 3 below. Ernie's left arm is parallel to the ground, and he has set the club at more than 90 degrees in relation to the ground. With this sort of leverage—and the club swinging in balance—Ernie can simply turn to the top and then let his swing uncoil smoothly.
Like some of the great swingers who came before him—Sam Snead is the best example—Ernie begins to move his lower body back toward the target just before the club gets to the top. This dynamic change of direction creates a tremendous amount of torque. Look at the stretch across his shirt in frame No. 5 below. Torque is what produces clubhead speed, and Ernie produces it with less effort than most tour players. He doesn't rush anything, either. He lets the torque uncoil from the top of the backswing—a great thing for the average player to copy. As you can see in Frame 5 below, Ernie's wrists are still hinged late into his downswing. He really does exemplify the cliché "swing easy and hit hard."