Kevin Tway’s development from a U.S. Junior Amateur champion to an All-American at Oklahoma State to a winner on the PGA Tour can be traced to lessons from his father, 1986 PGA Championship winner Bob Tway. But there have been plenty of other influences along the way, says coach E.J. Pfister.
“He’s been hanging out at Oak Tree National forever, playing golf with pros like Scott Verplank, Willie Wood and Dr. Gil Morgan,” Pfister says. “They embraced him and pushed him. He’s a product of his environment.”
Kevin won the PGA Tour’s Safeway Open in October largely because of a sharp short game, but he’s also spent a lot of time on driver technique.
“My swing is shorter and faster compared to when I first came on tour,” he says. “I used to swing around 115 miles per hour, but now I’m up to 125 at times. A lot of that comes from work in the gym and using the ground better for more power.”
He’s a prototype of the modern golfer-athlete, Pfister says: “Tall, strong, flexible—golf is going to a game of speed, and he has it.”
Tway says he hits a low cut when accuracy is a must and a high, baby draw when distance is the priority. The setup here is for distance. Swing coach E.J. Pfister says some of the things they monitor at address are that the ball is in line with Tway’s left ankle, and the left hip is stacked over that ankle.
Starting back with the forearms rotating clockwise and the club moving inside the target line caused Tway to have accuracy issues with his driver, Pfister says. “Now we’re always checking that he starts back with minimal forearm rotation with his right arm appearing higher than his left,” Pfister says.
WINDING IN PLACE
Tway winds up for a big hit without making a lateral shift away from the target, Pfister says. “He feels pressure on the right side of his body in the backswing, but he’s not swaying off the ball. I also like how he maintains a subtle flex in his right knee to help increase the depth of his hip turn.”
One thing Tway focuses on is the change of direction when the downswing starts. “I want to make sure it’s smooth,” he says. Tway’s left arm has a high-and-straight look at the top of the swing as a result of his right arm being in perfect position to deliver the club back to the ball, Pfister says.
A lot happens in the fraction of a second when Tway starts down, Pfister says. “Pressure moves into the ball of his left foot, his left shoulder separates from his chin, and his arms drop into a slot inside the target line. But the thing to watch is that he matches his arm swing with his super-fast hip rotation.”
ERASE THE ANGLES
As Tway strikes the ball, all the angles in his swing should be gone, Pfister says: “He’s not quite at impact here, but his left leg, left arm, left hand and golf shaft are about to be all lined up.” He’s released the energy he maintained in the downswing at the right moment—through the ball, Pfister says.
Just like his father, Bob, who is 6-foot-4, Kevin uses his height to create speed and power throughout the swing, finishing tall and in balance. “The longer the arms, the more potential for speed development,” Pfister says. “And he can now swing 125 mph without losing control. That’s the key.”
“I hit two drives, a low-cut fairway finder and a smash. This is the smash.”
KEVIN TWAY 30 / 6-3 / 185 pounds Jupiter, Fla.
DRIVER Titleist TS3 (9.5 degrees)
DISTANCE (RANK) 304.8 yards (24th)
ACCURACY 54.8 percent (190th)