Statistically, Jordan Spieth's driving is pretty unremarkable. He ranks 90th or lower on the PGA Tour in distance off the tee and hitting fairways and 150th in total driving, which measures power and accuracy.But those are just numbers. "Driving is a strength of mine," says Spieth, who has one win, five runner-up finishes and 15 top 10s in the year and a half since he joined the tour. "I don't hit it the farthest, but I don't see a lot of players working the ball left or right the way I do. I focus on getting better angles into the greens rather than distance or making sure it's in the fairway."Adds his teacher, Cameron McCormick: "When he misses a fairway, he doesn't miss by much." Spieth says he hits quality tee shots because he has control of the clubface through impact, keeping his left wrist facing the target for as long as he can and adjusting his swing path slightly to add any curve."But even then, I try not to curve it very much," he says. "His swing is a classic example of function before form," McCormick says. "It's designed to control the ball, and that's really what matters."
Spieth's left hand is turned more toward the target than you see with a lot of players. This grip makes it easier to hit the ball high and fade it, says swing coach Cameron McCormick. Spieth adds that it's a constant adjustment to get it right. "A draw feels natural to me, but I needed to find ways to make fading it easier."
PIVOT, DON'T SWAY
Letting his body sway away from the target during the backswing was an issue for Spieth, McCormick says. "You can't hit it high or create enough power for tour-level golf if you sway. You have to pivot your body and let your arms and club move deep around it." Says Spieth: "I focus the first third of my swing on the pivot."
FLAT AND STACKED
Pivoting properly allows Spieth to make a flatter and deeper backswing all the way to the top, setting up a downswing that doesn't require any re-routing, according to McCormick. The look and feel of a good pivot is "stacked," Spieth says. "My shoulders have turned on top of my hips, instead of drifting back."
HIP TO BE SQUARE
Spieth starts the downswing with a powerful rotation of his hips and lower body toward the target. "This move clears the body out of the way and gives him plenty of room to swing the club down on an arc as close to his intended flight line as possible," McCormick says. "It's a big reason why his shots are never too far off line."
"Jordan doesn't really roll his forearms, and that's another reason he has great control," McCormick says. "He holds off club rotation, and through impact he tries to make the face look in the direction he wants the ball to go. This results in his arms really extending after the strike—it's just his release pattern."
Players who rely too much on their hands and arms to square the clubface and strike the ball typically struggle to generate power and hit the ball solidly, McCormick says. "That's not the case here. Jordan continues to pivot with his body long after the ball is gone. It's a great move for amateur golfers to copy."