Photo by JD Cuban
It took Adam Long nearly a decade to reach the PGA Tour but only five tournaments to win. Guess you could say he was eager to prove he belonged.
“You're never sure how you stack up until you win,” Long says, “but now I feel like I've earned the right to be out here, playing with the best.”
Long outperformed Phil Mickelson and Adam Hadwin to win the Desert Classic in January, shooting a final-round 65 that included two chip-ins.
“It was a round where you don't think about your swing—you just play golf,” Long says.
When he does think about his swing, it's mostly timing and tempo, he says, and making sure his left hip rotates back and away in the downswing.
“As long as it keeps moving, I can release the club as hard as I want and not hook it,” he says.
Long's work with coaches Brian Fogt and Josh Gregory has produced a driver swing that blends decent distance (291.2-yard average) with accuracy (63 percent of fairways hit).
“He doesn't really have a weakness in his game,” Gregory says.
Photo by JD Cuban
A FLARE FOR STABILITY
Long sets up a little open to his target with his feet, but his shoulders are square, says swing coach Josh Gregory. “He also flares his feet to provide more stability. Two things I like here: The ball position isn't too far back, and there's not too much spine tilt.”
USING THE ABS
Long is using the core muscles to start the swing, Gregory says. The amateur mistake is to initiate with the arms only, which forces the club upward prematurely. “The core muscles move the body, arms and club together,” Gregory says. “The feel for Adam is, he's loading into the right leg and hip.”
STRETCHING IT OUT
Gregory likes how straight Long's left arm remains in the backswing. “Like all good ball-strikers, he's maintained the width of his swing. One minor issue is that the right leg is still flexed. I'd like to see that leg straighten as he loads more into the right hip, with his hands deeper.”
“Now I have an overall sense of belonging on the PGA Tour.”
CHECK THE HANDS
A few years ago, there was a slight disconnect between the movements of his body and arms at the top of the swing, Gregory says. “His hands used to be higher, a sign that the core stopped moving too soon. I'm being a little picky here, but I'd like to see his belt buckle over his right foot—a deeper turn.”
Long says he thinks about starting the downswing with his left hip. “The feel for me is that my left hip is rotating left and back, really opening up.” He used to have more of an armsy swing, Gregory says, but they've worked hard on getting Long to engage his body more.
THE SECRET SAUCE
What makes Long a really good driver is how well he hits up on the ball and favors a slight draw shot shape. “Note the spine tilt at impact,” Gregory says. “He even hangs back a little on his right foot, which is just fine if you're swinging a driver. It's not something you want with irons.”
KEEP ON TRUCKIN'
Hips, torso, arms and club—everything is still moving well past impact. Even Long's head swivels, “which allows his body to keep on rotating,” Gregory says. “If you keep your head down, it's difficult to fully release your chest and get pressure into your left foot and toward the target.”
31 / 5–10 / 160 pounds Jupiter, Fla.
TaylorMade M6 (9 degrees)
Titleist Pro V1