PGA Championship

Valhalla Golf Club

The Loop

Patrick Reed's swing is a lot better than you think

August 29, 2016

Getty Images

Most people who see Patrick Reed swing immediately see that he moves his feet much differently than most PGA Tour players.

When he swings the driver, the five-time tour winner dances his left foot back from the target line through impact -- a quirk that makes him easy to recognize from two fairways away. But if that's all you see, you're missing the parts that make him one of the longest, most pressure-proof players on the tour -- somebody perfectly suited for major-caliber venues like Bethpage Black (and Ryder Cups).

"He moves his feet. So what?" says Golf Digest 50 Best teacher Brian Manzella, who is based at English Turn Golf & Country Club in New Orleans. "It's what he does with the club from the transition at the top of the backswing that makes him such a great player. He moves his hands on a great path."

Even with his thicker build, Reed makes a big shoulder turn and forces the club away from his head--and away from the target--when he starts down. This move is what causes the clubhead to "lag" dramatically. By the time Reed's hands are halfway down, he's throwing the clubhead around as hard as he can --"unlagging it."

"The average player thinks that lag comes from 'retaining the angle' or somehow holding the clubhead back to produce a 'late hit,'" says Manzella. "That isn't what Reed does at all. The lag comes by pulling the arrow out of the quiver, so to speak -- moving those hands in a line away from the target at the start of the downswing. Once he does that, he makes that clubhead come around as fast as he can--so much that his feet are moving so he can get out of the way of it. He goes at it with more gusto than anybody I've ever seen."

What does that mean for you? Forget about two moves that are killing your distance and accuracy --"holding" lag and trying to make your hands go fast toward the ball or the target. Instead, think about pulling the arrow out of the quiver at the top and make the clubhead move faster through impact, not the handle.