'Right' Stuff

By Jim McLean Photos by J.D. Cuban
May 27, 2013

The way Masters champion Adam Scott combines power with accuracy, in my opinion, makes him the best driver of the golf ball in the game. After Scott's victory at Augusta, Greg Norman, who many considered the best ever with a wooden driver, declared that his Australian protégé is better with the big club than he was.

At a time when many power players are backing off to 3-woods from the tee in the interest of accuracy, Adam continues to successfully attack with driver on roomier courses -- like Augusta National and Muirfield Village, home to this week's Memorial. To do so, Adam follows some classic tenets in his approach. Most importantly, he allows his weight to load onto his right side by moving his head to the right. This is contrary to the Stack & Tilt-influenced teaching that sometimes leads to a reverse pivot, a death move with a driver. In these photos watch the position and movement of Adam's head.

(1) Adam's setup is classic and better than ever due to a more relaxed upper torso, as he no longer stands extra upright with his neck stiff. Now he's statuesque, but not rigid. The ball is positioned just inside the left heel and the shaft of his driver is vertical, not leaning forward. His upper arms are plugged into the chest and his head is positioned well behind the ball. At address the closest part of his head is three inches behind the center of the ball.

(2) Halfway back, Adam has moved his head in two directions, slightly down and already two inches away from the target. This just in: great drivers -- players who are both long and straight -- shift away from the target and load the right side. Adam has moved the club away mainly with the shoulders, creating a tightly coiled "X Factor" with the upper body turning much more than the lower body. Also notice the tremendous width Adam creates. By using a beautiful one-piece takeaway and the early loading of his right side, the club has made a very wide, power-producing arc. You can be a good driver with zero lateral head movement, but by moving his head to the right with a coiling upper body, he gives himself the chance to be great.

(3) At the top we see the hallmark of great power driving. Everything except the lower part of Adam's left leg and left foot stays behind the ball as he turns onto a solid right leg. His head did not stay steady, or quiet, or in one place, but turned and shifted to the right. Though the left heel is still down, the club shaft is just beyond parallel and the left knee is behind the ball.

(4) In my teaching I call this the "extension position." Past the ball, Adam has the perfect components. His left arm is connected to the upper chest, his right arm is straight, his head and eyes have released toward the target, the heel of his right foot is way off the ground, his hips are raised, his left shoulder is high and turning away from the target, and the club shaft is parallel to the ground. The distance of the clubhead from position 2 to position 4 in this sequence is nearly 12 feet. That's the wide power arc of the super long and super straight tour player, and Adam Scott in particular.