The first-time instructor Mike Taylor worked with U.S. Open champion Lucas Glover, at Sea Island (Ga.) Golf Club in mid-2007, Taylor hauled a variety of swing aids down to the end of the range to see which the feel-oriented Glover might respond to best. Glover put his bag down next to the pile of gadgets, shook Taylor's hand and deadpanned, "Word travels fast when you aren't hitting it any good." The pair became fast friends, and the subsequent work on Glover's swing plane, impact position and putting fundamentals was instrumental to the victory at Bethpage Black.
According to Taylor, here are five things he and Glover have been working on for the 2009 season:
1. Feel vs. Tech speak
"We don't talk about angles and things like that. Lucas doesn't like to look at too much video. He wants drills and to go and actually hit shots to get his feel. It works for me, because that's the way I like to teach. I don't have a model. I'm not trying to make him look like anybody else. We'll make sure the face is right and the plane is right and that good stuff, but mostly I want him to feel good about what he's taking out there."
2. Swing plane
"One way for him to feel a better swing plane is to start with more level shoulders at address. We also practiced hitting shots from downhill lies, so he could feel like he was more on top of the ball down through impact. His left shoulder stays lower."
"Lucas likes to play the ball low and from right to left. We've really been working the feeling of holding release off a little bit through impact for a softer cut. That's the shot he hit in on 17 on Monday. It was great to see that he was confident enough to bring it out on the course. I think it clicked for him at Charlotte a few weeks before- -- he came off the course talking about an 8-iron that he cut in, and how it felt really good. Watching him there, I knew he was going to win soon. It was just a question of when."
4. Putting alignment
"Lucas' natural tendency is to set up to putts with his shoulders and hips open, which throws his path off. It's also something that's really hard for a player to see himself. That's something we check on a regular basis. He looked great, obviously, at Bethpage."
"Lucas has always been a fast player, and he used to get a little too anxious out there. When I saw him Monday of Open week, he was laughing and playing games during his practice round. And on the final Monday, some people were saying he actually looked bored out there. If he's looking bored, or like he's not trying very hard, that means he's comfortable and focused."
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