Ask any teacher if there's ever been a "perfect" swing, and you'll get an emphatic "No!" Even legendary players such as Bobby Jones, Ben Hogan and Jack Nicklaus had swings with enough idiosyncrasies to fall short of ideal, proving that you can hit hall-of-fame caliber shots with a few swing quirks. Our culture, however, tends to be infatuated with flawlessness, which is why generations of golfers have dug deep into the dirt in the search for perfection. Golf Magazine's Top 100 Teachers have built the picture-perfect swing, position-by-position, using the absolute best motions from today's PGA Tour players.
2 of 8Robert Beck/SI
No. 1 Setup: Adam Scott:
PGA Tour Wins: 7; World Golf Rank: 45
Looks often deceive, but not in the case of Adam Scott's setup. He looks athletic and balanced because, well, he is. The key is his spineit's neutral without any curves or bulges. You can check this in your own setup by standing next to a mirror and drawing a line straight down from the top of your spine. When you're neutral and balanced, the line will intersect your elbows and barely graze the front of your knees (which you need to flex slightly like Adam does here).
3 of 8Mark Newcombe/Visions in Golf
No. 1 Backswing: Anthony Kim
PGA Tour Wins: 3; World Golf Rank: 12
Anthony Kim's backswing satisfies two critical criteria: creating leverage and width. He creates maximum width by aligning his hands and clubhead when the shaft is parallel to the ground (right). To add leverage, he hinges his wrists and completes his turn to the top. Building leverage on top of width makes it easy to complete your backswing without making compensations, and then to put your swing on cruise control on the way back down. Simple.
4 of 8Robert Beck/SI
No. 1 Transition: Fred Couples
PGA Tour Wins: 15; World Golf Rank: 133
Fred Couples looks effortless in his transition because he's never tense or rushed at the top, which allows him to save speed for when it counts most. His secret is his ability to "feel" the clubhead. To get this feel, tie a towel around the neck of your driver. Pose at the top, then slowly start down. You should immediately sense the added weight of the towel as the club shallows. If your shaft is too steep the towel will slide down. The key is to give your club time to change directions so the towel stays put.
5 of 8Angus Murray
No. 1 Power Move: Sergio Garcia
PGA Tour Wins: 7; World Golf Rank: 46
When your hands lead the club, it's called lag, and nobody lags better than Sergio. Most elite golfers produce 90 degrees of lag, but Garcia creates in excess of 100, a move so volatile that he's trying to tone it down. You, however, need as much lag as possible. To get it, delay hinging your wrists until your hands are at least waist high in your backswing, and start shifting weight to your left foot (i.e., jump-start your downswing) before you reach the top. It should feel like you're cracking a whip.
6 of 8Fred Vuich/SI
No. 1 Impact Position: Tiger Woods
PGA Tour Wins: 71; World Golf Rank: 1
Despite HIS recent swing problems, Tiger still has the best impact position on Tour. It starts with his pre-contact delivery. Woods forms a "wall" by posting his left leg. This sets up a violent
collision—his right side running over his resisting left side—and lets his arms smash through at top speed. In addition, you'll often see Woods with his left-hand knuckles curled down. This delofts the face, and when paired with the right amount of right-wrist cup, keeps the club square through impact.
7 of 8Fred Vuich/SI
No. 1 Tempo: Ernie Els
PGA Tour Wins: 18; World Golf Rank: 6
"Be quick, but don't hurry." This famous quip from the late, great UCLA coaching legend John Wooden is an apt description for Ernie Els' swing the clubhead moves quickly, but Ernie is never in a hurry. Els understands that power comes from proper sequencing, that it builds rather than bursts. Most golfers confuse good tempo like Els' with swinging slowly, when in fact tempo means to swing the club at the same consistent pace throughout your swing.
8 of 8Mark Newcombe /Visions in Golf
No. 1 Overall Swing: Steve Stricker
PGA Tour Wins: 9; World Golf Rank: 4
The best part about Steve Stricker's swing is that he matches up the rotation of his core with the rotation of his forearms. This is something you probably don't do but that would almost certainly help you play better, because it keeps the club on plane from start to finish. To swing more like Stricker, it's helpful to remember that you play this game standing to the side of the ball, meaning the swing is more around the body than straight up and down.
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