Golf swings don’t make great players. My comments about all of these swings have nothing to do with any of these players’ ability to be among the best in the world. They are my views on how I think these players could become even better than they are already.

Jamie Sadlowski on Monday.

Before I get to Ben Curtis, I found I was right, without even knowing it, about some subtle change in Stewart Cink’s swing that would benefit him. Someone pointed out to me a video from this year’s British Open, where Stewart won his first major. The changes are subtle, but he made the exact two changes that I suggested in my analysis yesterday. Good for him and that is exactly what I mean. Small subtle changes can make us better, no matter what our skill level is. I obviously had nothing to do with Cink’s changes, as he made them well before I even made any comments, but it shows me that my ideas on how to improve hold some water. Here is the video if you care to compare it to yesterday’s.

Stewart Cink at The Open

Ben Curtis is the poster child for almost every point of my theory on the golf swing.

He rotates his shoulders 90* to the ground, instead of 90* to his spine. That gets him way too far to the inside. He has tried to combat this by listening to some moron tell him to have an early hand set and to the outside (we have all seen him do this even more pronounced than in this video). All that does is get his hands way too involved early and because his shoulders are rotating level to the ground instead of his spine, his hands still get too far inside and the club behind him. Just like Stewart Sink, when the club is too far inside and behind you, the hands will often lift at the end of the swing and take the club across the line.

As I explained in one of my posts, restricting hip turn is never good and hips will only over rotate because the shoulder turn is level to the ground, instead of to the spine. Well, Ben’s hips also over rotate for this reason and that makes the problem of being too far inside and across the line even worse.

When you are across the line, many good players have a slight reroute over the top and Ben is no different.

From over rotating to the inside, going across the line and way too much early activity with the hands, he is forced to pull his shoulders up into his ears, straighten his spine angle and come up on his toes through impact to create room for himself to square the club.

All of this is textbook cause and effect and Ben has the move of about a 15 handicap, but for one major awesome part of his swing. Like I said in my cargo short and T-shirt videos, a good release can cure a lot of evils. Ben’s release is fantastic and it gets him right into perfect hitting position just before impact. Add in the fact that he is one of the best putters on Tour, you have the answer as to why a guy with a weekend hacker’s swing can win a major and stay on The PGA Tour.

I absolutely guarantee that if Ben Curtis learned to turn his shoulders 90* to his spine, continued to release the club like he does and continued his good putting, he would consistently be among the top 20 or 30 players on the money list…if not better.

Turning his shoulders properly would have a positive domino affect as each of the flaws I described above would go away one by one. He might play bad at first as this would be a major change in the dynamic of his move, but once he got used to it, he would play better than he has ever played.

If he continues to swing like this, his game and body will deteriorate as he gets older.

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12 Comments

  1. Nigel

    Ben Curtis 2009 Swing – The Open Championship

    Reply
    • Monte Scheinblum

      Again, much better. Still not quite 90* to the spine, but much better than the video I used. He is still a hair stuck and his shoulders rose a bit through impact, but it looks like both of these guys are starting to work on the right things.

      Was was incredible to watch in the video I used was how stuck he was in spite of releasing the club perfectly. Imagine how bad it would have been had he been delaying the release.

      BTW Nigel, sometimes the site reads a comment with a link as spam and it won’t show up until I approve it.

      Reply
  2. Nigel

    Ah, that explains the no posting effect. Sorry about giving you a few copies of the video?!?!?!?

    There is no question you are right. Mind you, while his takeaway and backswing are less than ideal to say the least, from the top down he is better than any 15 handicap I`ve ever seen :-). Other than being a bit stuck on the way down, coming over the top and having to change spine angle to accommodate hitting the ball, he is pretty solid through impact with a great release. That sounded like Monty Python – What have the Romans ever done for us, apart from the aquaducts, healthcare, law and order, the roads…………….?

    I think the summer 2009 video shows that Ben is working with someone who knows what they are talking about and they are obviously addressing many of the concerns you highlighted. What is startling to me is that Ben Curtis is a multiple PGA Tour and Major winner with that swing. It just shows you how talented he is.

    I`d like to see him work more on his footwork going back, as he rolls to the outside of his right foot and his upper body tries to compensate a little – almost fighting a reverse pivot, but not quite. I suspect he`d also benefit from a slight shortening of his backswing to reduce the lift of the hands after the shoulders stop moving. These would put him in a far better, more consistent position at the top and may help with his getting stuck.

    Reply
    • Monte Scheinblum

      I agree with all of your points. The rolling on the outside of the right foot is a result of his shoulder turn being more level to the ground instead of the spine. That causes the hips to over rotate, which causes the roll to the outside of the right foot.

      If you thought I was scathing of Curtis’ swing, wait till you hear what I say about Dustin Johnson next week…LOL.

      Reply
      • Nigel

        No, not scathing at all. The best thing about your analysis is that it is constructive, while recognising how good a player Ben Curtis is.

        Dustin Johnson`s swing is certainly “interesting” so I look forward to seeing what you have to say. He hits the ball a reasonable distance, so he must be doing something right!

        I saw Matt Kuchar swing recently and was surprised to see how flat his swing has become. What do you think of this one-plane, two-plane Hardy stuff? I realise Hardy himself has moved away from this, but a poor instructor has to think about where the next best selling DVD boxed set is going to come from………………

        Reply
        • Monte Scheinblum

          I think the one plane/two plane nonsense is just another in a long line of fads to create media sales. We all aren’t Moe Norman.

          Reply
  3. MS Golfer

    He seems to release his hands fine, but because his pivot is all fouled up going outside of his feet he’s got a huge cast move going on. I saw him in person and he hits it a lot farther than people might think, but I think this is the perfect example of how imperfect fundamentals can still win you a Claret Jug.

    Reply
  4. Ringer

    You know, it’s really funny because this was something I have fought with for years. I tended to ROLL my forearms early in the takeaway like a lot of players, but I have a good enough move to the ball that I could still strike it fairly well.

    One small change in my takeaway changed everything.

    Just look at my old swing….

    And my improved swing….

    Just as you say, I would take it back inside and get behind my right shoulder. I would then LIFT the club up just enough with some timing of my body to get the club moving on a steeper plane to the ball. As a result my hands would come WAY out away from my body by impact. It was a cascade of disasters that all worked seemlessly to hit a straight shot frequently. But it was never going to be good enough to really win much.

    Now, with a better takeaway and the club going up over my shoulder instead of behind me, I don’t re-route the club.

    This takeaway had NOTHING to do with an early preset of the hands either. I just simply didn’t let my arms roll going back. Unfortunately many people who have the Medicus in their bags will learn that rolling open early is the proper way to swing a club. 🙁

    Reply
    • Monte Scheinblum

      I have one word to describe the medicus.

      GROOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOS!

      There is only one thing worse than a golf swing cliche…a golf training aid.

      Reply
    • Monte Scheinblum

      Ringer, I have two thoughts if you are interested. Very subtle, but I think they could help you.

      Reply
      • Ringer

        I’m all for input Monte. You and I have very similar philosophies on the golf swing.

        Reply
  5. Monte Scheinblum

    Reply for ringer.

    1. Your arm swing is just a hair long at the top. In other words, your backswing needs to stop as soon as your shoulder turn stops.

    2. On the down the line view. Watch what you hands look like well after impact when they appear after the come above your body just before the finish. Your hands are exiting very high and you have way over rotated the club shut. That tells me that your release is late and you are having to save a block with your hands and they come out high instead of staying in front of your chest as it rotates around.

    Kind of a complicated and over detailed way of just saying release it earlier, i just wanted to included my evidence as to why I thought you were releasing it late because you are not underneath before impact.

    The improvement from one video the next next is excellent, that is why I hesitated to say anything because these two “problems” are very subtle.

    Reply

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