Cognizant Classic in The Palm Beaches

PGA National (Champion Course)

Focus on the basics

The 3 golf swing basics young Rory McIlroy ‘always’ focused on

February 21, 2023

Rory McIlroy has one of those golf swings that captures the attention of everyone around him. It's smooth in tempo but powerful in speed; textbook in position but homegrown in appearance. Simply put, it's the swing the rest of us dream of having.

It obviously didn't get there overnight. It took countless hours of practice over years under the watchful eye of his coach from childhood, Michael Bannon.

When Rory first burst onto the scene Golf Digest caught up with Bannon to ask him an essential question: What were some of the essential basics that the pair worked on, as a young Rory was making their way through the ranks?

Turns out, there were three of them.

(By the way, you can read the full story over in our Golf Digest Archive right here)

1. Alignment

You'll spot a common theme with these: They're all basics, which is kind of the point. They're a little boring, but that doesn't mean they're not important. Your alignment is perhaps king among them.

Amateur golfers often tend to aim too far to the right, which forces them to compensate by coming over the top. Rory's aim can often shift around too, which is why the pair said they always keep a close eye on it.

"We've always focused on Rory's posture, alignment, and ball position," Bannon says. "We never go a session without checking his setup fundamentals.

2. Posture

Posture is another basic that can easily throw off other elements of your move.If it gets slightly too bent over or too upright, it can alter the way you turn and send the ball sideways as a result.

Young Rory's tendency was to get his posture slightly upright because of his stance width, Bannon says.

"He has a tendency to narrow his stance a wee bit too much for the short irons," he says. "I like the width to stay constant so he can [turn] into his right leg on the downswing."

3. Ball position

Where the ball is in relation to your body is incredibly important, because of its relationship to the bottom of your golf swing. If the ball is too far forward, you're prone to hitting more up on the ball, which can cause you to catch the ball thin or with a clubface that's too far closed.

Rory tends towards the opposite problem.

"If he's been playing in windy conditions, he sometimes lets the ball creep back in his stance," Bannon says.

Once again, you can read about that article in its origional form alongside the rest of the archive right here.