Genesis Invitational

Riviera 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