Charles Schwab Challenge

Colonial Country Club


What's changed in my swing

April 21, 2009

My reconstructed left knee enables me to finally make the swing that my instructor, Hank Haney, and I have been working on for years. That's because my legwork is so much better with a knee that doesn't shift all over the place and is pain-free for the first time in 10 years. I'm excited that I can hit shots I couldn't hit before without making compensations in my swing.

This driver sequence, taken the week of my win at Bay Hill, shows my normal setup and backswing as I load up on my right side to the top (2). On the downswing, my arms are coming down in front of my body; my shoulders are turning forward, and my arms aren't swinging past my turn at all. You can also see that I'm making a lateral move toward the target while transferring my weight to my left leg (4). This is something I really couldn't do before. I'm able to make this lateral move by shifting my hips forward instead of backing them up through the hit--a habit I'd developed to protect my knee from further injury and, quite frankly, because it hurt like heck sometimes when I didn't. When I would back up, my tendency was to hit the ball to the right. Sometimes I could save the shot with my hands, but it was pretty difficult to do, especially with consistency.


Another difference is, now I can really post up: My left leg stays flexed into impact and straightens in the follow-through (6). Before, it would straighten well before then. This better leg action allows a natural release and extension down the line.

Mark Soltau is a contributing editor to Golf Digest and the editor of