When you're watching a tour pro on the practice tee, you can't help but appreciate the rhythm, the athleticism, and the ease with which they can produce great shot after great shot. The other thing you begin to notice are the idiosyncrasies that make their swings unique. That's certainly the case when watching Hideki Matsuyama practice.
Actually, Matsuyama's signature move is no move at all. As the five-time PGA Tour winner transitions from backswing to downswing, he pauses for a moment. His swing literally stops. It then starts again, and Matsuyama gracefully and powerfully unwinds toward the target letting the club whip through the impact zone. Even if you only see it from afar, his swing is truly a thing to marvel at. Fortunately, we got a much closer look—and now so can you.
We asked Matsuyama if we could spend some time with him on the range as he cycled through his pre-round warm-up and speak to him about the hows and whys of his practice routine. Matsuyama said yes, and we were able to record his amazing swing and capture his thoughts on it during a practice session at the Grand Cypress Resort in Orlando in May.
We did this for our new series of videos, “Undercover Lessons,” where we offer an in-depth look at how tour pros practice. Our debut video featured Jordan Spieth and his coach, Cameron McCormick, on the range in Dallas.
Back to our day with Hideki. Because he isn’t fluent in English, the Japanese native is often mistaken for a shy, loner on the PGA Tour. But with an interpreter nearby, Matsuyama was plenty talkative that day off-camera, and gave some great insight into his overall swing, the pause at the top, what he focuses on, and how he likes to prepare for a competitive round.
To make sure things weren’t lost in translation, Golf Digest Executive Editor Peter Morrice narrated the 20-minute video walking you through Matsuyama’s warm-up routine, while pointing out the takeaways all golfers can benefit from. As a bonus, he also shares analysis of Matsuyama’s swing by Golf Digest 50 Best Teacher Jim McLean.
If you know what Florida is like in May, then you’ll understand the word steamy comes to mind when describing the playing conditions that day. But Matsuyama barely broke a sweat as he pulled clubs from his bag and rifled balls down the fairway on one of Grand Cypress’ practice holes. The consistency of his swing and his ability to compress the ball is why he’s become a top-10 player in the world. Although ringed by bright lights, multiple cameras, and plenty of crew, Matsuyama quietly and professionally hit every ball like he was all alone.
This video is a rare opportunity to get up close to one of the game’s best ball-strikers, not only to appreciate how a pro practices, but what you can borrow for your own game. And it’s only available on Golf Digest Schools.