Editor's Note: Every Monday Kevin Hinton, Director of Instruction at Piping Rock Club in Locust Valley, N.Y. and one of Golf Digest's Best Young Teachers, tells you how a tour player hits a key shot. This week, Kevin analyzes how Masters runner-up Louis Oosthuizen used his superb ball striking to bounce back from his close call at Augusta National and win the Malaysian Open.
By Kevin Hinton
It didn't take long for Louis Oosthuizen to rebound from his playoff loss at the Masters -- actually, it only took seven days. With his final-round 68 at the the Malaysian Open, Oosthuizen secured the victory and his 5th European Tour title. The win moved Louis to 12th place in the Official World Golf Rankings. Once again, Louis' ball striking proved valuable as he continued to drive the ball well, while hitting more than 81% of his greens in regulation for the week. Take a look at these videos of his driver and iron swings, and keep reading to see what you can learn from them.
Driver: Louis does many things exceptionally well in his swing, but here are two simple tips you can learn from his driver swing.
Shaft Position at Address: In this video, notice that Louis sets up to his driver with the shaft leaning slightly back. Many great drivers have done this throughout history. I encourage my students to have the shaft set in a neutral position, but if they were to err one way or the other, I'd much rather they have the shaft leaning slightly back like Louis. Leaning the shaft forward de-lofts the driver and encourages hitting down on the golf ball. Both those things make it difficult for the average player to drive the ball. You can't go wrong by copying Louis' driver setup.
Long is better: Another thing that many great drivers do is make a long backswing. Louis is another example of this. His long, languid swing promotes a full shoulder turn and beautiful rhythm. If you are struggling with your driver, simply make a full shoulder turn and complete your backswing. If you naturally make a long swing, don't fight it -- it sure works for Louis.
Copy Louis' "Quiet" Takeaway: A technically-sound takeaway can sure lead to solid iron play, and Louis' couldn't be any better. As Louis begins his swing, his shoulders, arms, and hands start back in unison with the clubhead staying slightly outside his hands. Many amateurs make a quick or violent move off the ball in which their hands are often very active. Louis has a very "quiet" beginning to his swing, without excessive motion. This beautiful start sets the tempo for his entire swing.
Make a full release: Through impact, Louis releases the club fully as his arms crossover. There is no "holding on" or "steering" of the golf ball. This is a great look to copy for all players, but especially if you tend to slice. This image of releasing the club fully will help you square the clubface through impact.