Swing Sequence: Yani Tseng
Tseng grew up in Taiwan. Her coach, Tony Kao, laid the groundwork for her golf career at age 5 by telling her to just hit the ball as hard as she could for a solid year without worrying about the outcome. The strategy shaped an aggressive, powerful motion that belies Tseng's slight frame. It's a swing that has catapulted her to the top of the LPGA's driving-distance chart, won her 12 worldwide titles in 2011, and put her so far ahead in the Rolex Rankings that she could take the rest of 2012 off and would still be No. 1.
Despite her domination, the swing isn't perfect. "Yani's so aggressive, she tends to overswing," Gilchrist says. "She sometimes turns her shoulders past 90 degrees, and when that happens, she starts to lean left at the top, and the club gets laid off."
As a result, she drops the club too far inside on the downswing. It gets stuck behind her, and the clubface remains open through impact, causing a weak slice. The fix is in the little things. Tseng has worked hard on creating more spine tilt away from the target at address, which helps her wind into her right side on the backswing. "She's setting up with her right hip lower now, which causes more restriction in her hip turn, helps get her chest over her right knee at the top, and stops her left arm from getting too high," Gilchrist says. For stability, they do elastic-band exercises and ball tosses, naturally shaping a more compact pivot that requires no thinking. "She grabs a band and really winds into her right side," Gilchrist says. "And when she tosses that ball, it comes at you at a speed nobody can imagine."
-- Stina Sternberg
Analysis by Gary Gilchrist, founder of the Gary Gilchrist Golf Academy, in Howey-in-the-Hills, Fla.