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Golf Instruction: Swing Sequences

Louis Oosthuizen: Almost Perfect

February 2013
Swing Sequence: Louis Oosthuizen

BIO: 30 / 5-foot-10 / 170 pounds
DRIVER: Ping Anser, 9.5 degrees
BALL: Titleist Pro V1x
DRIVING DISTANCE (RANK): 299.5 yards (23rd)
GREENS IN REGULATION (RANK): 68.8 percent (15th)
WATCH: SLOW-MOTION VIDEO

If you took a poll of all of golf's elite players and teachers, Louis Oosthuizen's swing would no doubt be pegged as one of the top two or three in the game today. We're not disputing that. But in the spirit of journalistic balance, and as a reminder that every golfer can improve, we called upon highly regarded English instructor Pete Cowen to find something—anything—to criticize in the photographs of Oosthuizen's swing on the following pages.

Cowen has worked with the 2010 British Open champion for several years and knows his swing as well as anyone. Under close examination, Cowen did spot one thing that wasn't ideal. "But that's only if I'm being highly, highly critical," Cowen says. "Honestly, if you weren't, you'd struggle to find a poor position in any of these photos."

If you go to the first series of photos and look at the takeaway (view second frame), you'll notice that the clubhead is just to the right of Oosthuizen's hands. Ideally, Cowen says, it would be covering his hands, indicating an on-plane position.

That's it. That's all we've got for you. You can now sit back and enjoy the rest.

Notice Oosthuizen is relaxed and well balanced over the ball. Look at the mirror-image shaft angles at halfway back and halfway down. Marvel at how he delivers every ounce of his 170-pound frame to the ball. Also note how his chest, arms and club work together. It's powerful and fluid. Drooling yet?

"I have no idea why I swing the way I do," says Oosthuizen, who has won 10 times worldwide since 2004 (by seven shots at the British Open in 2010) and nearly won the Masters last April, edged by Bubba Watson in a playoff. "I just try to get the timing right and all the basic things."

Cowen says Oosthuizen is one of the best at maintaining the connection between the body—what Cowen calls "the engine"—and the arms and club—"the steering." Still, it's not always perfect, Oosthuizen says.

"Sometimes my backswing gets long, and I get in bad positions. The club also can get behind me coming down, so I have to flip my hands to catch up to my body."

Adds Cowen: "He's always been hyper-mobile in his shoulders, and that can lead to problems. We've worked hard on shoulder stability, because you've got to load them if you want to knock it out there. And that's what Louis does better than most."

--Ron Kaspriske

Swing Sequence: Louis Oosthuizen

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Analysis by Pete Cowen, who also coaches Graeme McDowell and Padraig Harrington.
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