I was recently asked by a friend of mine and fellow teaching professional of mine about what I thought of Tigers swing changes. This seems to be a hot topic in teaching circles since the sudden drop off of Tigers performance in the last year or so. Since the personal scandal that he has gone through, he has changed coaches (Haney to Foley) and now caddies (Williams to LaCava). I have set back and listened to everyone’s opinion on the situation and now I want to give you my two cents. As I understand the possibility of criticism from colleagues, peers and plenty of coaches that are way smarter than myself……I can take it! See as everyone focuses on Tigers swing changes which are vitally important and I will comment on, I want to bring another spin on things from a coaching perspective which is…..What does the student or in this case, Tiger….want from a ball flight perspective and from a past history angle. So here goes: I have posted 2 swings. 1 from 2008 and the other from this year to allow you to see the changes that Tiger and Sean have made.
1) The most obvious difference is the hand and arm plane in the takeaway. He is noticeably more inside with his hand and lead arm with the club more upright. In 08 his hands drifted away from his body with more forearm rotation with the shaft flatter at halfway back. As a coach I prefer this move as I spend alot of time fixing rollers and spinners of the shaft and club face.
2) the second change is with his arm plane/shoulder plane at the top and body pivot. Old Tiger had a flatter shoulder plane, higher arm plane and allowed his head to move behind the ball. The new changes are completely opposite. His shoulder plane is steeper, left arm is lower and head stays more steady at the top which from a coaching standpoint all matchup or what I call cancel each other out…..hope that makes sense.
The Good Part
As coaches, it is our job to work towards the goals of the students that we are working with. We all know that Tigers goals is to win majors, this is not what I am talking about. I am talking about connecting with and understanding the students needs. When working with a player I want to find out there tendencies or their big miss and work towards a pattern that avoids this miss. The question is did Foley really look at the swing characteristics and shot patterns that worked for Tiger in the past or is he so blinded by the philosophy that he thinks is superior or pattern of development that is the most efficient that he is not listening to his student. I don’t know the answer. Tiger is a very intelligent man and you would think that he would question every change for explanation why? Maybe Sean Foley is the greatest salesman in the world and has a logical explanation for the changes and has sold arguably the greatest golfer in the world that THIS is the way to go…. and that is great. It seems to me that Tiger is doing exactly what Foley wants in his swing changes but obviously they arent producing the results. Is it too early, I don’t know. Only time will tell. Personally, I think estetically his swing looks great as I love the way the stack and tilt hybrid looks to the eye. This is what Mac O’Grady and the M.O.R.A.D. boys would call very SEXY with the CP release that is low and around (and I totally agree. I would totally date that girl)……….:)
What I Would Do
but the facts are: Tiger has always been too shallow on the downswing which lowering his left arm and moving more weight forward would seem to accentuate which makes no sense to me. He always seemed to play better with a higher left arm (which I know doesn’t fit the pattern) but its true. This kept the club more in front of him and on plane and also taller through the strike. So the question remains.” Has the student been left out of the process?” I hope not because as a big TDub fan, golf needs him to make a comeback and I would love to see it. I hope that team Tiger proves me wrong as if anyone could make it work, its Tiger. Remember, teaching is a moving target and it is our job as coaches and ambassadors of the game to figure out what our students need. If there was one way to move the club, they would all look the same……..And even the average bystander could tell that this isn’t the case. Comments are always welcome.
See you on the lesson tee at Carmel CC,
Guru …..I do teach non-members. To schedule a lesson, simply call the golf shop @704-945-3300 or the learning center directly @704-688-9201. If you have my cell number, you know what to do!
p.s. made it through my first week and loving my new gig. There are great things to come!