Swing Sequence: Carl Pettersson

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Swing Sequence: Carl Pettersson

August 21, 2013

GOTTA BE ME

BIO: 36 / 5-foot-11 / 200 pounds | Driver: Nike VR Pro Str8Fit, 11.5 degreesBall: Nike 20XI-SDriving distance (rank): 290.1 yards (73rd)Driving accuracy (rank): 59.6 percent (111th)You don't have to spend a lot of time around Carl Pettersson to realize he's comfortable in his own skin. Don't forget, this is the guy who famously packed on the pounds a few years ago after concluding that fitness and dieting nearly ruined his game. Just as the Swede couldn't care less about having six-pack abs, he shuns textbook swing mechanics. He's proud to call his swing his own. "It looks a little different, but it's worked for me very well," says Pettersson, who has won five times on the PGA Tour and racked up nearly $20 million in earnings.When you try to evaluate Pettersson's golf swing, never confuse style with purpose, says Golf Digest Teaching Professional Rob Akins. "Your belt might not match your shoes, but it can still hold up your pants," he says. "Carl's swing might not look picture perfect, but its functionality is a beautiful thing." Specifically, Akins loves the timing and balance of the swing: "Carl has the rhythm of a fly fisherman." Although it might look segmented in these photos, his motion is one of the smoothest on tour. Good tempo, Pettersson says, is something he works on."My swing relies on a fairly slow but constant tempo," he says. "I don't think too much about the mechanics. I just want to shift to my right side on the backswing and then shift back to my left side as I start down. That's really all I try to do."Akins says Pettersson's natural motion produces three things seen in so many good swings: (1) a clubhead that lags behind the hands for a long time in the downswing; (2) an in-to-out swing path through the ball; and (3) a square clubface at impact.His move might look unusual because his backswing is fairly upright, Akins says, but once Pettersson starts down, his right elbow and shoulder move toward the ball and he slots the club to the inside to set up a nice, shallow delivery into impact."What I like most is how long he keeps his right heel planted through the shot," Akins says. "It rolls toward the target but doesn't really lift. I think it's his secret to distance and accuracy."--Ron Kaspriske

FACE-ON

Just before he starts back, Carl leans right and pushes his hips open. This is his swing trigger.Analysis by Golf Digest Teaching Professional Rob Akins, who is based at Spring Creek Ranch Golf Course in Collierville, Tenn.

*Analysis by Golf Digest Teaching Professional Rob Akins, who is based at Spring Creek Ranch Golf Course in Collierville, Tenn.*

*Analysis by Golf Digest Teaching Professional Rob Akins, who is based at Spring Creek Ranch Golf Course in Collierville, Tenn.*

*Analysis by Golf Digest Teaching Professional Rob Akins, who is based at Spring Creek Ranch Golf Course in Collierville, Tenn.*

*Analysis by Golf Digest Teaching Professional Rob Akins, who is based at Spring Creek Ranch Golf Course in Collierville, Tenn.*

Carl's right foot is bolted to the ground at impact: That's a move you should copy.Analysis by Golf Digest Teaching Professional Rob Akins, who is based at Spring Creek Ranch Golf Course in Collierville, Tenn.

Notice the right foot is rolling, not lifting. Nicklaus talked about rolling his ankles.Analysis by Golf Digest Teaching Professional Rob Akins, who is based at Spring Creek Ranch Golf Course in Collierville, Tenn.

*Analysis by Golf Digest Teaching Professional Rob Akins, who is based at Spring Creek Ranch Golf Course in Collierville, Tenn.*

*Analysis by Golf Digest Teaching Professional Rob Akins, who is based at Spring Creek Ranch Golf Course in Collierville, Tenn.*

*Analysis by Golf Digest Teaching Professional Rob Akins, who is based at Spring Creek Ranch Golf Course in Collierville, Tenn.*

*Analysis by Golf Digest Teaching Professional Rob Akins, who is based at Spring Creek Ranch Golf Course in Collierville, Tenn.*

His right elbow flies away from his side, but he slots it perfectly in the next frame.

*Analysis by Golf Digest Teaching Professional Rob Akins, who is based at Spring Creek Ranch Golf Course in Collierville, Tenn.*

*Analysis by Golf Digest Teaching Professional Rob Akins, who is based at Spring Creek Ranch Golf Course in Collierville, Tenn.*

*Analysis by Golf Digest Teaching Professional Rob Akins, who is based at Spring Creek Ranch Golf Course in Collierville, Tenn.*

*Analysis by Golf Digest Teaching Professional Rob Akins, who is based at Spring Creek Ranch Golf Course in Collierville, Tenn.*

UP-THE-LINE

This open body position will help him rotate freely through the ball for more power.

*Analysis by Golf Digest Teaching Professional Rob Akins, who is based at Spring Creek Ranch Golf Course in Collierville, Tenn.*

*Analysis by Golf Digest Teaching Professional Rob Akins, who is based at Spring Creek Ranch Golf Course in Collierville, Tenn.*

Carl's left heel comes off the ground, which gives him more freedom to turn to the top.

*Analysis by Golf Digest Teaching Professional Rob Akins, who is based at Spring Creek Ranch Golf Course in Collierville, Tenn.*

Like fellow Swede Annika Sorenstam, Carl looks up early. It proves he's turning hard.

*Analysis by Golf Digest Teaching Professional Rob Akins, who is based at Spring Creek Ranch Golf Course in Collierville, Tenn.*

His arms wrap around his body as if they were rope. There's no extra tension in this swing.

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