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. This week, Kevin takes a look at the elegant and relaxed swing of Martin Kaymer, whose final-round 63 propelled him to a three shot victory and his first World Golf Championship victory over the weekend. Kaymer birdied nine of his last 12 holes at the WGC-HSBC Champions in Shanghai, shooting 29 on the back 9, and easily erasing the five shots he trailed going into Sunday's final round. Here Kevin takes take a look at Kaymer's driver swing in the video below and explains what you can learn to improve your own game.
Kevin Hinton: Martin Kaymer has a classically beautiful swing with excellent footwork and rhythm. There are many things that the average player should copy. One part of his swing that is slightly unusual and I think noteworthy is the top-of-his backswing position. Martin allows his left arm to bend and he hinges his wrists fully. Most of his driver swings go past parallel.
A lot of the younger players on tour at this position have created a much "wider" arc. What I mean by this is, the golf swing is essentially a circle that swings around your body. Some circles are bigger than others. Many tour players have the left arm quite straight, with the hands and arms high above the shoulders. These players are described as having great "width" to their swings, essentially a big circle. Players like Ernie Els, Adam Scott, Nick Watney, Davis Love III and Bill Haas quickly come to mind.
The players on tour who look this way are often the young, slender, super-flexible types, or all of the above. I can't speak for my fellow PGA professionals, but this doesn't exactly describe my typical student, or myself. I've tried to get my left arm straight, create a huge arc, limit my wrist hinge at the top. It looks great on film, but guess what? It feels terrible and I hit it even worse. I pretty much can't do it without feeling way too much tension in my swing.
Tension in your arms and hands can be lethal to your swing. It certainly limits your power potential. That's why I love to show Kaymer's top-of-backswing position swing to my students. It looks "soft," relaxed, void of tension. Most importantly, it looks achievable. I'm not suggesting to collapse your left arm and allow the shaft to rest on your shoulder, but if you don't fit the description of the typical young tour star...quit fighting it. So loosen up, reduce your grip pressure, and allow the club to swing. The result will be a far better-feeling swing with more clubhead speed.