Swing Sequence: Gary Woodland


Swing Sequence: Gary Woodland

March 20, 2011

When I started working with PGA Tour rookie Gary Woodland in 2005, during his junior year at Kansas, he could hit it 380 yards—but not always in the right zip code. He can generate 200 miles per hour of ball speed! But he needed to harness that a little so he could use his gift more effectively. The main project with Gary was to keep him from putting on his Superman cape. When he really goes after it, he transitions so aggressively at the top that his arms get trapped behind him and he has to try to save the shot with his hands. Those 380-yard hooks and pushes translated into double bogeys. With a more controlled, stable transition, Gary still hits it 320 off the tee, but he can find his ball—and he got his 2009 PGA Tour card at Q school.RANDY SMITH is the head professional at Royal Oaks Country Club in Dallas. One of America's 50 Greatest Teachers, he works with more than a dozen tour players.

Gary was a big-time basketball player, and he has kept that athleticism. Both knees are centered under his body, not braced or angled.

He's getting upper-body extension, but see how his right knee stays in place, with almost no hip rotation. That's the definition of coil.

If he were trying to kill it, his hands would be so far behind his head you wouldn't see them. Now his arms can move down in front of him.

This is the good kind of lag—not the kind that comes from an abrupt change of direction. His head and upper body are back, not lunging at the ball

Despite all the speed he created a millisecond ago, he's perfectly balanced here. No stress on his back. He's not fighting compensations.

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