How He Hit ThatOctober 3, 2016

Short of a heart transplant, how can you play like Patrick Reed?

Make balance and coil more important than good looks
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Getty ImagesCHASKA, MN - SEPTEMBER 29: Patrick Reed of the United States hits off the tee during practice prior to the 2016 Ryder Cup at Hazeltine National Golf Club on September 29, 2016 in Chaska, Minnesota. (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)

A million opinions (amateur and professional) have been recorded about the best, most beautiful swings of all time.

Patrick Reed isn't on any of those lists, but maybe he should be.

Reeds's footwork is some of the most eccentric on tour, but he does one important thing better than almost any other player. He does the same thing when the pressure is at its highest as he does during "regular" moments.

He repeats.

"It's the ultimate compliment you can give a player," says top New York teacher John Hobbins, who is based at the Greenside Golf Academy at Trinity Centre, in Manhattan. "He performs under pressure. Part of it is attitude, of course, but a big part of it is his swing. He's very stable and balanced at address, and he maintains his balance throughout his swing. His arm and body motions compliment one another."

You can get some of that in your swing without making wholesale changes, says Hobbins.

"What does balance mean at address? If you didn't have a club in your hand, it should feel like you could get out of the way of a ball coming straight at you by moving in either direction. If you're out of balance, you'd only be able to move out of the way in one direction."

When Reed makes his backswing, he keeps his lower body stable and fully winds his spine. "I tell my students to think of the coiled spine as a spiral staircase," says Hobbins, who was the Metropolitan PGA Teacher of the Year in 2015. "If all you do is turn your hips to get more shoulder turn, you won't load any energy into your swing."

Reed's foot shuffle through impact? Window dressing that obscures how good his ball-striking really is.

"You don't hit the ball that solidly under that kind of pressure--and amped up the way he was--by accident," says Hobbins.


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