Swing sequence: K.J. Choi
K.J. Choi's recent success begins with his left-to-right ball flight
June 04, 2008
'POWER IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN EVER'
It seems as if every golf course we play on tour is getting longer and longer. Given this trend, if you can't hit it 300 yards when you need to, you can't put yourself in a position to win. So I've been concentrating on increasing my driving distance and making my body a little more flexible so it can adapt.Since I started working with Steve Bann (who also teaches Stuart Appleby) in 2006, my main focus has been my address. With the correct setup, my power at impact increases. My ball flight--now a fade--is more consistent.I'm pretty much driving it as well as I was last year when I won twice. In fact, I'm hitting the ball more accurately and maintaining my distance.→AGE: 38 / HEIGHT: 5-feet-8 / DRIVER: Nike SQ sumo2 5900 / BALL: Nike One Platinum / DRIVING DISTANCE (RANK): 286.7 yards (58th) /__ GREENS IN REGULATION (RANK):__ 72.73 (2nd)
MADE WITH A FADE
When swing coach Steve Bann met K.J. Choi in September 2006, it did not surprise him to learn that Choi got a lot of his golf instruction from reading a Korean version of Jack Nicklaus' book Golf My Way. Choi was doing some things with his swing that Bann felt did not suit his body type, and Bann suspected it was a case of something getting lost in translation."I don't know whether he misinterpreted it or got bad info, but the first thing we did was set him up right," says Bann, who has helped guide Choi to four of his seven PGA Tour victories and to No. 7 on the World Golf Ranking as of early April.Bann says they started by improving Choi's address posture, making him stand taller with his left hip higher than his right. This setup helps provide effortless power. Then the two focused on the takeaway."He was starting the clubhead away first and keeping his right arm straight as long as possible," Bann says. "That's a fairly unique thing to do. He often hit a pull or a weak cut because of this. Now I'm trying to keep his left arm connected to his chest as he takes the club back. I want him to use the big muscles on his turn."Then came the most important ingredient to Choi's recent success (three wins and a second in a 12-event stretch from 2007 to early '08): With Bann's help, Choi started playing a power fade by allowing his body and arms to work in sequence on the downswing and through-swing. Bann correctly assumed this type of swing would come naturally for Choi, who has a very strong core and lower body and can use those muscles to power the ball down the fairway. The power fade also gives him consistency because Bann believes it requires less coordination to repeat."We've eliminated all the things that didn't need to move," Bann says. "And combined with the earlier changes, the fade gives him all the distance he needs. Now when the shot calls for a draw, K.J. many times still plays the fade. He trusts it so much, there's no course that's too narrow."By Ron Kaspriske
This is a powerful setup: His upper body is behind the ball, so he can now use his mass to hit it.Swing analysis by Steve Bann, Teaching Professional
His left shoulder is working underneath his chin. The big muscles are taking the club back.
He keeps his left arm connected to his chest as he takes the club back.
Great sequencing: The arms, shoulders and club reach the top at the same time.
K.J. has dropped the club into perfect position, the shaft pointing at the ball.
His right side is still turning toward the target even though the ball is long gone.
To release the club fully, K.J. turns and thinks shake hands with the target.