How to Golf Like McIlroy, Spieth, and Day
As Tiger Woods tried to regain his greatness, the golf world looked to the next generation to see who was going to take up his mantle.
For many months, it seemed like Rory McIlroy was going to be the only person ready to step into Tiger’s shoes.
However, Jordan Spieth made a dramatic statement by winning two major tournaments in a row, the 2015 Masters Tournament and the 2015 U.S.
Open. He threatened to win a third with a strong performance at the 2015 Open Championship at St. Andrews, a tournament McIlroy did not even start — he got hurt playing in an ill-advised soccer game which prevented him from playing at all.
Day Fulfills His Potential
At the same time all this was going on, Jason Day was playing with consistent performances throughout the year.
He finally stepped into the limelight with a powerful win at the 2015 PGA Championship at Whistling Straits in Wisconsin.
Now McIlroy, Spieth and Jason Day represent the top three young golfers in the world.
Although Spieth has stumbled lately, and Rickie Fowler raised his profile by winning the 2015 Deutsche Bank Championship, these three have been sharing the spotlight for the 2015 golf season.
What We Can Learn
How are they able to win so consistently? What can we learn from their swings to help us improve our own games? Each has his own particular strengths and characteristics.
For example, McIlroy hits his drives extremely long and consistently in the fairway.
Jordan Spieth is known for his careful play, focusing on eliminating errors.
Jason Day has a near-perfect blend of feel and power, able to place his high-arcing drive in the right spot on tight fairways.
Let’s take a closer look at each player, discover their strengths and learn how to emulate them.
McIlroy’s real strength is his driver.
Statistically, he gets more out of his driver than any other player in the field.
When he plays a course that lets him pull his driver out often, he will do so on every non par-3 hole.
While he made his mark with his power, in the past few seasons he’s worked on developing control.
Fifty percent of the strokes he gains over the field he achieves with his driver.
This especially helps him on par fives. He is the second-ranked player on tour in the statistic of going for the green.
This measures how often he attempts to reach the green on a par five using only two strokes.
McIlroy is able to achieve his impressive distances with a natural blend of talent, flexibility and good balance.
One thing all golfers can take from McIlroy is his ability to create enormous lag.
He does this with great timing, allowing the swing to unfold step-by-step in the right sequence.
He keeps his shoulders closed to the target line which helps him drop the club in the slot, while his stance remains open, allowing him to clear his hips quickly.
Many weekend golfers tend to tense up too much when addressing the ball.
McIlroy makes it a point to feel relaxed and ready to go.
He also uses a strong grip which helps him draw the ball.
Timing and Lag
Although he is not the biggest golfer on tour, McIlroy is able to generate big drives with timing and lag.
He makes a full turn with his back to the target, then steps on the gas pedal, driving his hips and allowing the upper body to follow.
He releases all that stored power when he whips the club through the bottom of the swing.
A key to mimicking his action is to relax the grip.
Many players attempt to kill the ball by gripping the club with too much tension.
The trick is to hold the club lightly, relaxing the body and allowing the buildup and release of the swing to generate the power.
Another good takeaway that we can extract from Rory’s game is his putting technique.
He has put a lot of effort into his putting game after a few high-profile collapses.
An area he worked on improving was focusing on putting the ball in the hole rather than the mechanics of the stroke itself.
Often, golfers get too wrapped up in the minute machinations of the putting stroke and forget to rely on their natural athletic talent.
Pick a line, judge the speed, step up and confidently roll the ball in the hole.
With his ascension to the top spot in the world rankings, Jordan Spieth’s calm and steady style has paid off.
Perhaps more than any other golfer on tour, Spieth represents the new model of the modern golf swing.
While he does not possess the power of the other two players in our analysis, he relies on a calm demeanor and intelligent strategy that eliminates mistakes.
Many golf industry analysts believe that Spieth’s mental strength is his defining characteristic, an ability that allows him to stay in the hunt until the final bell sounds.
He continues to grind, keeping himself near the top of the leaderboard, and when the leaders falter, his steady game lets him move ahead of the pack and grab the win.
The strengths of his mental game does not mean that he has not worked hard on his physical swing.
Spieth used to swing very steeply, creating a reverse pivot at the top of his back swing.
He has erased many of those moves from his action, creating a swing that is more on plane.
One exercise golfers can use to get their swing more on plane like Spieth is to place a rubber ball between their forearms and maintain contact with the ball, swinging halfway back and halfway through.
Short Game Master
Another area of strength for Spieth is his short game.
Unlike most golfers who use a pitching wedge or sand wedge around the green, Spieth uses a lob wedge from even the tightest lies.
He has two main chipping styles:
- If the green is firm, he will use a lower trajectory and get the ball to check. He plays the ball further back, near his rear foot. With a square clubface, he tries to keep his left wrist facing the target line on all chips. He leans the club shaft forward and drives the ball low.
- To get the ball to fly a little higher and softer, he’ll play the ball in the middle of his stance, open the club face slightly, while making sure the club does not release too quickly at the bottom of the swing.
For softer greens he might use a 52-degree wedge, using the same techniques that he utilizes with the lob wedge.
Ball position and focusing on keeping the left wrist square to the target line remain the same.
These techniques are covered thoroughly at a golf career college.
To get the ball to check and grip the green, it’s important to be confident and maintain an accelerating swing.
Spieth likes to keep a neutral stance, with his weight relatively balanced between both feet, although sometimes he puts slightly more weight on his lead foot to create a descending blow.
When he won the 2015 PGA Championship at Whistling Straits, Jason Day broke through to fulfill his promising talent.
He won a major after coming very close time after time. Amateur golfers can learn a lot from his set up and swing.
From the time they pick up the game, golfers are told that the setup is of critical importance.
If there was ever a golfer that had a great set up, Jason Day is the one.
He has an almost perfect set up, with immaculate grip, ball position, posture and alignment.
You can learn to perfect this at a golf career college.
The reason a setup is so important is that it allows the beginning of the swing to launch without wasting energy or motion.
Day has a classic one-piece take away.
Unlike many professional golf techniques, this is a move that average players can emulate easily because all they need to do is turn their shoulders.
Halfway back, Jason is slightly inside the swing plane.
This shows that his swing has not gotten too flat, a sure sign of an amateur player.
At the top of the swing, he remains short of parallel.
That means that the club is not parallel to the ground.
At the same time, he has generated a full shoulder turn.
It is not as important to be parallel at the top as it is to create a full shoulder turn.
It’s not uncommon to move the head one or two inches back to accommodate the shoulder turn.
Coming down, he maintains an excellent on-plane swing path, which results in a textbook impact position.
He keeps his head down until his hands are well past the ball, allowing his right shoulder to travel under his chin and into the follow-through.
The main thing that we can take from Day’s swing is to focus on perfecting the setup.
Many golf swing errors occur because of inefficiencies in a players initial set up.
By concentrating on a well-balanced, coordinated set up, the swing has a much better chance of being on plane and in sequence.
Ready to consider your own Golf Career?
With the rise of McIlroy, Spieth and Day, golf fans are being treated to some of the best golf battles in years.
Tiger Woods has had flashes of his former self in recent weeks, but has yet to find the magic he had when he ruled the fairways.
Take the opportunity to watch these three professionals closely, and incorporate these tips into your game.
You can improve your own game while building a career in golf by attending a golf career college.
Contact us today to discover the different options awaiting you in the world of golf.