Cognizant Classic in The Palm Beaches

PGA National (Champion Course)

Swing keys

6 golf swing pictures from the Hero World Challenge—and what you can learn from each

December 06, 2023

When trying to improve your technique, oftentimes the best place to start is to observe how the best players in the world hit various shots. Sure, the exact movements will vary from player to player, but there are plenty of fundamentals that you can incorporate into your game.

Yet, it can be overwhelming to analyze a video of a tour pro’s swing and see all of the various parts that are different than yours. Where do you start? Sometimes it’s best to look at a still image to identify an essential part of the swing that could help your technique. That’s why we dug through images from the Hero World Challenge and picked out six photos that demonstrate key positions for various shots.

Scroll through our quick analysis to see how the pros are hitting shots and how these positions might help your game.

Tiger Woods: Staying neutral

Despite all of the surgeries, Tiger manages to keep his swing in very traditional positions. The plane is not excessively flat or upright. The clubface is neither open nor shut. No funky wrist angles. (Watch Hank Haney discuss the importance of neutral wrist angles at the top of the swing, here.) His position at the top of the swing, pictured here, demonstrates several key “neutral” fundamentals.

Collin Morikawa: Effective pitching

To chip off the grainy lies around Albany, many players use the bounce, or bottom, of the wedge. Morikawa does that here by releasing his right hand under the left hand, which keeps the face wide open and pointing toward the sky—something tour short game coach James Sieckmann says is key to hitting crisp pitches. He is not rolling his wrists over, which would close the face and expose the leading edge.

Scottie Scheffler: High iron shots

Landing the ball softly on the small greens at Albany was key to Scheffler’s terrific iron play en route to his win. Scheffler hits his irons exceptionally high, due in large part to his high finish. Tiger often discusses how if he is trying to his the ball low, he will finish low, and if he’s trying to hit it high, he will finish high with his hands above his head. Notice the gap between Scheffler’s arms and body, which helps him launch his hands high into the finish—hitting a towering iron shot.

Justin Rose: Release the clubhead

Notice how Rose is letting the clubhead fling past his hands when hitting a bunker shot. He is not dragging the handle, which would expose the leading edge, which digs into the sand. Instead, he’s letting the clubhead release, which keeps the face open and allows him to use the bounce, which Butch Harmon says is essential to hitting consistently good bunker shots.

Woods: Clean takeaway

Woods has a very neutral takeaway, as well. Notice how the clubhead is in front, or to the right, of his hands in this position. David Leadbetter says this is a key move to check in your swing. This is on plane and allows him to keep it on plane as he continues his backswing. The face is also on the same angle as his spine—square to the plane that he’s swinging on.

Woods: Return the shaft

One of the most impressive aspects of great ball strikers is how they are able to return the shaft at impact to the same position that it was in at address. Bobby Jones did this very well, as he demonstrates here while explaining his keys to good impact. As you can see below, Tiger also does this well. Notice how his hands are very close to his legs and the shaft is in the same position that it was at setup. There is no excessive raising of the handle. Many elite ball-strikers get into this position.