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The Loop

How He Hit That: Brandt Snedeker's stiff short irons

February 17, 2015

After a few years in the putting wilderness, Brandt Snedeker returned to the front rank on the PGA Tour, setting the tournament scoring record on his way to winning his second AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am.

Snedeker shot rounds of 64-67-67-67 to beat Nick Watney by three, making only one bogey for the week on the way. It was his first win since Pebble two years ago, and validation for the work he had been doing to retool his swing with Butch Harmon since last summer.

Snedeker's short and middle irons were especially precise on Pebble Beach's shortish 6,800 yards and tiny greens. On Sunday, he birdied both par-3s on the front side, including the tricky 100-yard 7th, which always plays in swirling winds.

"With irons, especially ones under 150 yards, a good shoulder motion is very important," says top New York teacher Michael Jacobs, who is based at the X Golf School in Manorville, Long Island. "As he takes the club away, Snedeker's left shoulder works down, and his left hip works down. At the start of the downswing, his hips have pretty much leveled out but his left shoulder is still lower than his right. Many players move that right shoulder down too much and too early. The right shoulder should move down, but very late in the downswing."

Snedeker's shoulder motion lets him swing the club on a very square path to the target line without any manipulation of the arms or club. That's a recipe for very accurate short iron play--especially with some great local knowledge about the wind.