Golf Digest Schools

How Nick Saban is fixing his golf swing

October 05, 2021
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Getting quick at the transition from backswing to downswing usually results in less speed at impact and inconsistent shots. If you're guilty of this, you’re not alone. Many golfers encounter this common swing fault. If fact, it’s the very thing top instructor David Leadbetter worked on with Alabama football coach Nick Saban during a recent session for Golf Digest. Follow along with the video below to find out how Leadbetter helped Coach Saban—and can help you—synchronize a better swing.

Watch the video below:

“One of the images I like to use is that the swing is like a roller-coaster,” Leadbetter explains. “You get to the top, and that’s when you accelerate. If you start to accelerate before you get to the top, that’s when you lose that sequence of motion.”

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“I think this is probably the most critical thing for me, being an old baseball player,” Saban says, “Because, in baseball, you already had the bat here [at the top]. You didn’t have to transition from one way to the other. Which has always been an issue for me.”

Maybe you can relate. Whether you developed this tendency from old athletic habits like Saban, or you’re just trying to muscle the ball too much, Leadbetter suggests making a very slight pause at the top to create a smooth transition into the downswing.

“The big key is that you want to make sure you wait for it,” Leadbetter says, meaning let the club get to the top before you start down with your body.

Leadbetter explains that this should feel like you pause for just a beat at the top of the swing. It might feel like a real stop and start at first, but to anyone watching, it’ll look like you have a nice, even flow to your swing.

In Golf Digest Schools’ newest series, “Pro to Pro: Nick Saban,” watch the famed football coach get a full lesson from David Leadbetter. Sit in on their range session, where they work on Saban’s takeaway, swing shape and, of course, that transition from the top. Watch these two coaching legends at work, and pick up some tips for your game.