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Monday Swing Analysis: Learn from Michael Hoey, the new Irish sensation

October 10, 2011

Roger Schiffman

Managing Editor Golf Digest

Twitter @RogerSchiffman

Editor's note: Every Monday, PGA professional Kevin Hinton examines the game of a recent tour winner and tells you what you can learn. A Golf Digest Best Young Teacher, Kevin is the Director of Instruction at Piping Rock Golf Club, Locust Valley, N.Y., and is a Lead Master Instructor for the Jim McLean Golf School at Doral Resort & Spa. He also teaches at Drive 495 in New York. He has seen thousands of swings and has helped golfers of all abilities, from rank beginners to tour players. This week, Kevin takes a look at the wonderful swing of Michael Hoey, the latest in a succession of impressive players from Northern Ireland. Hoey won the Dunhill Championship last week at St. Andrews, fending off fellow countrymen Rory McIlroy and Graeme McDowell.

Kevin Hinton: There is not a lot to discuss in Michael Hoey's swing because is seems so sound throughout. But one thing that truly stands out is his very quiet hands and clubhead at the top of his swing. His change of direction starting down is flawless--no extra movement and sudden speeding up of the club. That's how you get really consistent. This is far from a fundamental to great ball striking but sure is great to watch, and the average player couldn't go wrong trying to mimic it. Check out his swing below:

Here are two more points worth considering:

-- His left leg straightens very early through impact (meaning the hips are quite open at impact, implying more rotation and less lateral movement. This relationship normally exists with faders. Players who draw it typically move the most laterally, rotate less. This allows the arms and hands to pass the body. Back to my first blog, opposite of Tom Lehman. Having said that, I don't know Hoey's normal ball flight, but his hip action makes me think fade.

-- His right elbow at the top doesn't point remotely down at the ground. Many people think this is essential or focus on it quite a bit. Angel Cabrera is first modern player that comes to mind who definitely does not as well. Also, Jack Nicklaus wasn't too shabby playing this way with his "flying right elbow." It typically causes the clubface to open as the elbow points more parallel to ground and less at the ground. Hoey's clubface is slightly on the open side#iframe:|||, which also would promote a fade.

But if you want more consistency in your shot pattern, copy Hoey's ultra-smooth transition at the top.