Swing Sequence: Charley Hoffman
June 29, 2015
Without his trademark golden locks, Charley Hoffman might be harder to recognize these days, but his swing remains unmistakable: compact and powerful. The San Diego native and three-time winner on the PGA Tour showed how solid his technique can be during this year's Masters, where he was one of only a few players to stay within striking distance of wire-to-wire winner Jordan Spieth, who was setting 36- and 54-hole scoring records.At 38, Hoffman is no youngster on tour. He credits some of his recent success to Titleist Performance Institute co-founder Greg Rose, a chiropractor with an engineering degree who consults with tour players. "Charley is an easy guy to take care of," Rose says. "Years ago he injured his right ankle, so we work on getting him off his right side coming down. When he does that, he plays great."Hoffman has never represented the U.S. in professional competition, but he hopes to make the Presidents Cup team this fall. And captain Jay Haas was taking notice at Doral back in March. Hoffman's T-9 at Augusta, which put him into the top 10 in season earnings, should help.
READY FOR LAUNCHHoffman's teacher, Greg Rose, wants him to start in a position that mirrors impact: head well behind the ball, clubshaft leaning back. "The first of Charley's three keys is loading onto his right leg," says Rose, noting that Hoffman's setup pre-sets that move to the right. "Loading equates to more distance."
LOWER BODY HOLDSWhen Hoffman's swing gets halfway back, his hips have barely moved. "Even when the club reaches vertical, Charley's staying very still with his lower body while creating width in the swing," Rose says. "His left heel is flat, but he's very flexible. I don't mind the heel rising in less-flexible players."
BIG SHOULDER TURNHoffman's second key is making a full rotation with his upper body. "He turns his shoulders nearly 100 degrees to the top while his hips move only 45," Rose says. "He's storing tremendous power." Also notice his left wrist is cupped (not flat with the forearm), which helps keep the clubface square during the downswing.
KEEPING THE ANGLEHoffman's third key--getting his weight to his front side--is visible as he starts down. He also has great clubhead lag. "Think of standing in a waist-deep swimming pool," Rose says. "You want your hands to hit the water before the clubhead does. That's how you retain the angle [in your wrists] to create speed."
TEXTBOOK IMPACT"People talk about being wide on the backswing, but distance comes from width at impact," Rose says. "You want your left arm and the shaft fully extended for maximum speed." Hoffman has a Nicklaus-like head position here--well behind the ball--and his left wrist has gone from cupped to flat, another speed producer.
ALL THE WAY LEFTHoffman continues his full stretch past impact and into a balanced finish. "I like to see all the spikes on his right shoe [looking down the target line from behind] and a relatively straight back," Rose says. "We want Charley to push aggressively off his right leg--that's when he drives it best."