Many people will say that Steve Stricker doesn’t set his hands. I disagree. He has a 90* angle between his left arm and the club shaft and that is an ideal position. However in this era of “complete your turn” and over lagging the club, Steve’s back swing looks short and his handset looks light. That constant hand set and release form the top is why he is so straight and among the best players in the world. It also doesn’t hurt that his arm swing doesn’t continue the back swing when the shoulder turn is done…which again, is ideal.

I wanted to post two videos here, one from each angle for one reason. This is a golf swing folks. I could nitpick and say his posture is a little rounded at address and he exits a little high with his hands…the second thing is minor and the first thing could relieve the stress on his back and might create even more consistency.

He turns it away well, he sets it well, he transitions well, he releases it well and everything is in sync. What more could you ask for? It shows you the state of madness in the golf instruction industry that his swing is criticized for the lack of hand action and power…or even worse not making a full turn. If you hear anyone say the following (and I have heard them all and more) about Steve Stricker:

1. He doesn’t finish his back swing or make a full turn.
2. He doesn’t set his hands right or lag the club.
3. He throws/casts the club.

If the person saying these things is just a random range know it all, everything he says should immediately be discounted and an 8 year old boy should kick him in the shin.

If the person saying these things is an instructor licensed by the PGA, he should be fired, have his credentials revoked and have his groin teed up and hit by the nearest living world class long driver…please let it be me.

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20 Comments

  1. Sean

    Thanks for the analysis,i love how Steve has simplified his swing.Being a tall lanky golfer i’m slowly chipping away at excessive arm swing,a shorter backswing feels powerless.

    Reply
    • Monte Scheinblum

      I know it feels powerless, but it takes getting used to.

      Reply
      • eric

        I’ve tried a restricted arm swing and it is powerless for me. You think that the distance returns once you get used to the different feeling? Stricker’s swing appears to be built around accuracy above all else.

        Reply
        • Monte Scheinblum

          Stricker’s swing is not powerless. He is about average is driving distance…and is over 40.

          Having a long arm swing does not give you power. Often it reduces it. If you feel powerless it is probably one of two things. You haven’t learn to fire at full speed from this shorter position and that will come …or your had a very short shoulder turn and a long arm swing and now in shortening your arm swing, you have very little turn. Obviously I can’t tell which it is, but just keep on working on increasing your shoulder turn and don’t let your arm swing control it.

          I know it’s another case of semantics, but it’s not about restricting the arm swing, that causes tension, you just want to control your back swing with your shoulder turn and not your arms. The restricting might be causing some of your power loss.

          To prove my point, watch JB Holmes and how hard he fires from a short position.

          Reply
          • eric

            I think it’s psychological more than anything. I can make a big shoulder turn, 100 degrees+ …but I still feel powerless with my hands so low.

          • TonyK

            I went through the same adjustment period. I used to generate speed with my swing with a huge backswing, load up on my right side and build up the momentum as the club traveled down by heaving your entire body at the ball….just like you would when trying to chop wood.

            Now my swing is a lot more quiet.. I don’t try to turn my shoulders way past 90 degrees anymore. I try to keep it compact. It took a lot of practice and a lot of getting used to. The key for me was to be sure I was turning perpendicular to my spine and turning with my shoulders and not my arms. Doing this automatically shortened my backswing and made it feel more natural to fire the club from such a low position.

  2. Nigel

    Stricker has a wonderfully simple swing and the way he has fought his way back to the top is testament to his mental strength. He does so many things well in the swing that this probably provides as good an example as any for other golfers to study and incorporate aspects into their own motions.

    The main problem I see with Stricker is that his left arm becomes a little unconnected on the takeaway. Sometimes when the shaft is parallel to the ground the club is outside the line a little, sometimes it`s inside a little. He rescues it by forcing the left arm to be more connected on the way down, but getting off line like this is what causes his occasional pulls and pushes with the longer clubs. It`s a very subtle error, but working on staying a little more connected on the way back would make him even more consistent. With the shorter clubs it really doesn`t cause too many problems and he is one of the best wedge players I`ve ever seen.

    Reply
    • Monte Scheinblum

      I thought about what you are saying, but hesitate to talk about “staying connected” because almost every amateur will try and stay connected far too long and end up too far inside and stuck behind them.

      Reply
      • Nigel

        I know exactly what you mean and agree. I tried hard to come up with another way of describing what I see in Sticker`s swing, but failed miserably and had to lapse into golf technobabble.

        I think all Stricker needs to do is copy what David Toms does at address, when he grabs hold of his shirt and holds it between his upper left arm and body (i.e. armpit) for the takeaway. It`s just a reminder for the first couple of feet away from the ball, not something to hold onto past that for the entire backswing. As I said, it`s a fairly subtle thing and does not stop him being number 2 in the world.

        Reply
        • Monte Scheinblum

          It doesn’t matter how good you are, there are always subtle changes that can improve your game.

          Reply
  3. peter

    great post Monte….I’ve turned on a number of my friends who are also enthralled with your site. Also love the backswing/release video…really does help the feeling part of the swing…..I haven’t tried it yet and so this may be answered once I do but just in case….when you stand straight and swing you feel the release…you mention that you don’t do anything with your hands….but I’m assuming that when you take your stance and swing you must turn your hands to have the release…
    Peter

    Reply
    • Monte Scheinblum

      What I am saying is if you don’t do anything with the hands (too much grip pressure, hold the lag, etc.) to prevent the release form happening…it will happen automatically.

      That was my whole point in that video and basically the whole point of the blog. Most, if not all swing faults, happen as a result of doing something to prevent what is right from happening all by itself.

      Swing systems and fads do the same thing. They prevent you from doing what is natural for you, because you are doing SEVERAL things on purpose and not allowing your body to work on it’s own.

      Why do you think the golf swings of really little kids who first take up the game have such good swings?

      Reply
  4. Sean

    Monte, how does one get more shoulder turn,through stretching or trying more wich causes tension?
    Sean

    Reply
  5. Sean

    How do you get more shoulder turn, by strecthing or trying harder wich causes tension?
    Sean

    Reply
    • Monte Scheinblum

      IMO, unless you are extremely flexible, stretching is good for golf. I do it every day for 15-30 minutes. Everything in golf is about maximizing what you have to work with. The problem with some of the things we have been taught is that it it tries to increase what we don’t have. Adding false lag, “finishing your turn,” etc.

      Tension is created when you try and “finish your turn” because you are going beyond where you shoulders will go naturally and comfortably.

      Long winded explanation over, now onto what you need to do. Put a shaft in front of your chest like I did in the video in today’s post and turn as much as you can. Then, while holding that position, take the club in your hands and extend them out to where they would be if you took a back swing…that is not the full limit of your back swing, but close to it. You will naturally go a little farther back when actually hitting a ball, but much past that and you are into extra arm swing and past your shoulder turn.

      You will always achieve maximum power and accuracy by going to your own limit and not beyond. Aside from increased flexibility, you can’t do anything to increase your turn the right way.

      Reply
  6. Rich

    Monte,
    Like you said, his backswing with the driver puts the club at a perfect 90° angle with his spine.
    But what about his turn with an iron? The angle is far from 90°, no?

    Reply
    • Monte Scheinblum

      It depends on the length of swing and that is the genius of Sticker’s move. On a full iron shot it just gets to 90*, especially on the long and mids. On the short irons, wedges and half shots, it doesn’t quite gets there allowing him fabulous distance control with a short hand set.

      Reply
  7. Eric

    Strick is one of my favorite golfers – the other is Couples – 2 dramatically different swing types.

    It almost looks like a dead hand swing. Love it. Since I personally can’t trust over-lagging of the clubhead in my own swing, I feel like I swing a bit like Steve.

    One thing to note is the hoodiness of is iron face at the top of the swing – maybe 5* closed?

    Thoughts?

    Reply
  8. Eric

    Steve not making a full shoulder turn is poppycock. He makes a huge turn. People are simply seeing his hands and club never get parallel to the ground, therefor the think it’s not complete.

    Steve keeps his hands in front of his sternum plate all the way back – When he can’t turn the shoulders anymore HE IS DONE with the backswing. Allowing the hands to continue lifting once the shoulders have reached their limit is a recipe for inconsistency.

    There is a ton to learn by watching Steve. Compact.

    Reply

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