Swing Sequence: Steve Flesch

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Swing Sequence: Steve Flesch

March 02, 2008

Being a smaller guy, the only way I can generate clubhead speed is to fire my hips. I'm not going to overpower anything, so to gain distance I have to create torque between my lower and upper body by firing my hips through impact.Unfortunately, because I have quick hips, if I can't keep the club in front of my body, it gets stuck behind me, and I block shots left of the target.But I've been working hard on fixing that -- I realized that my 80-percent swing hits the ball just as far as when I go all out. The reason I won twice in 2007 is because I put the ball in play. I was catching it in the middle of clubface to set up the strongest part of my game -- my iron play. I want a ball flight that looks like it might want to draw but stays straight. When I hit it like that, I know I can win.Age: 40 | Height/Weight: 5-Feet-11/165 Pounds | Driver: Cleveland Launcher Comp | Ball: Srixon Z-URC | 2007 Driving Distance (Rank): 287.5 Yards (107th) | '07 Tour Wins: 2Being a smaller guy, the only way I can generate clubhead speed is to fire my hips. I'm not going to overpower anything, so to gain distance I have to create torque between my lower and upper body by firing my hips through impact.Unfortunately, because I have quick hips, if I can't keep the club in front of my body, it gets stuck behind me, and I block shots left of the target.But I've been working hard on fixing that -- I realized that my 80-percent swing hits the ball just as far as when I go all out. The reason I won twice in 2007 is because I put the ball in play. I was catching it in the middle of clubface to set up the strongest part of my game -- my iron play. I want a ball flight that looks like it might want to draw but stays straight. When I hit it like that, I know I can win.Age: 40 | Height/Weight: 5-Feet-11/165 Pounds | Driver: Cleveland Launcher Comp | Ball: Srixon Z-URC | 2007 Driving Distance (Rank): 287.5 Yards (107th) | '07 Tour Wins: 2

TAKING A NEW PATH

Adjustments off the tee have turned Flesch into a winnerBy Ron KaspriskeOf the six players who won two or more PGA Tour events in 2007, you can probably guess most of them: Tiger, Vijay, Phil, etc. But Steve Flesch, who had won only twice in 310 previous tour starts, surprisingly won twice in a five-tournament stretch last summer (Reno-Tahoe Open, Turning Stone Resort Championship). Now he has a decent shot of making the 2008 Ryder Cup team. The reason for his success, says swing coach Butch Harmon, is that Flesch finally has a tee game that complements his always-solid iron play."For years he had to rely on the timing of his hands to square the clubface at impact," Harmon says of Flesch's driving. "Now with a much better backswing and a very good position at the top, Steve is able to deliver the club into impact without being handsy."The biggest change occurs on the downswing," Harmon says. "Halfway down, the shaft is between his arms, and his shoulders are level. He used to have the club coming into the ball too far from the inside. If his timing wasn't perfect, his ball could go anywhere."Now his body and arms are in a good spot, and Steve can deliver the club to the ball from a perfect position."Flesch says he focuses on trying to keep the club in front of his body and not overturning his hips."It's amazing what a little confidence can do," he says. "I now know that I can repeatedly hit good drives if I maintain some width in my backswing , keep my hands away from my body and not let the club get too far behind me in the downswing."Statistically, Flesch still has a way to go before he joins the elite drivers on tour. He ranked 107th in driving distance (287.5 yards) and 100th in driving accuracy (63.6 percent of fairways hit) in 2007. But at the Reno-Tahoe, where he won, he tied for first in driving accuracy.

TAKING A NEW PATH

Adjustments off the tee have turned Flesch into a winnerBy Ron KaspriskeOf the six players who won two or more PGA Tour events in 2007, you can probably guess most of them: Tiger, Vijay, Phil, etc. But Steve Flesch, who had won only twice in 310 previous tour starts, surprisingly won twice in a five-tournament stretch last summer (Reno-Tahoe Open, Turning Stone Resort Championship). Now he has a decent shot of making the 2008 Ryder Cup team. The reason for his success, says swing coach Butch Harmon, is that Flesch finally has a tee game that complements his always-solid iron play."For years he had to rely on the timing of his hands to square the clubface at impact," Harmon says of Flesch's driving. "Now with a much better backswing and a very good position at the top, Steve is able to deliver the club into impact without being handsy."The biggest change occurs on the downswing," Harmon says. "Halfway down, the shaft is between his arms, and his shoulders are level. He used to have the club coming into the ball too far from the inside. If his timing wasn't perfect, his ball could go anywhere."Now his body and arms are in a good spot, and Steve can deliver the club to the ball from a perfect position."Flesch says he focuses on trying to keep the club in front of his body and not overturning his hips."It's amazing what a little confidence can do," he says. "I now know that I can repeatedly hit good drives if I maintain some width in my backswing , keep my hands away from my body and not let the club get too far behind me in the downswing."Statistically, Flesch still has a way to go before he joins the elite drivers on tour. He ranked 107th in driving distance (287.5 yards) and 100th in driving accuracy (63.6 percent of fairways hit) in 2007. But at the Reno-Tahoe, where he won, he tied for first in driving accuracy.

THE TAKE-AWAY

Keeping the hands away from the body creates width and more power.

THE TAKE-AWAY

Keeping the hands away from the body creates width and more power.

THE BACKSWING

Now with a much better backswing and a very good position at the top, Steve is able to deliver the club into impact without being handsy.

THE BACKSWING

Now with a much better backswing and a very good position at the top, Steve is able to deliver the club into impact without being handsy.

AT THE TOP

The shaft is pointing at the target. He's on plane.

AT THE TOP

The shaft is pointing at the target. He's on plane.

AT THE TOP

He's not stuck here. The club-shaft is between the arms, the right spot.

AT THE TOP

He's not stuck here. The club-shaft is between the arms, the right spot.

AT IMPACT

Flesch says he focuses on trying to keep the club in front of his body and not overturning his hips.

AT IMPACT

Flesch says he focuses on trying to keep the club in front of his body and not overturning his hips.

THE FOLLOW-THROUGH

Look at the great extension of the arms and shaft.

THE FOLLOW-THROUGH

Look at the great extension of the arms and shaft.

THE FINISH

A balanced finish. His weight is on his front foot.

THE FINISH

A balanced finish. His weight is on his front foot.

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