The Rory McIlroy Golf Swing – How to Play Like Rory Mcllroy

The past decade or so of golf has been defined by one man: Rory McIlroy.

The Northern Irish golfer has spent plenty of time as the number one golfer in the world, and has plenty of trophies to boot.

So it’s not surprising that many golfers would love to play just like Rory. But let’s be clear, the Rory McIlroy golf swing is no easy feat.

While he’s not one of the tallest golfers in the PGA, he is one of the longest hitters, and he deploys plenty of useful techniques in his swing to ensure that he creates that swing power without relying on his strength alone.

So if you want to play like one of the best, you should start by studying one of the best, but even more importantly, you should also practice like one of the best!

No one gets to the top without hours and hours of practice!

So don’t expect to start playing like Rory as soon as you’ve finished reading, but if you’re looking for some tips on how you can replicate his incredible swing, keep reading!

Let’s get into it!

Rory McIlroy golf swing. A golfer sets a ball up on a tee.

The Rory McIlroy golf Swing

Legs in the swing

Let’s start off analyzing Rory’s swing with one of the most impressive techniques in his arsenal.

Using your legs in the golf swing is a skill that every golfer should be using. A lot of beginners assume that all of the power in the golf swing is built up and generated through the arms, which is untrue!

Using your legs correctly is key to a powerful golf swing, and a great example of how to use your legs properly in the swing is the Rory McIlroy golf swing.

If you’re using your legs correctly in the golf swing, you’ll shift your weight distribution through your legs more towards your rear leg during your backswing and more towards your lead leg in your takeaway.

What Rory does so well, similarly to Tiger Woods, is to really load his weight onto the leg that is taking the most pressure, and make the weight transfer explosive to maximize swing power.

If you watch his swing, you can actually see that his lead leg leans into his body on his backswing, indicating that the majority of his weight is loaded onto his rear leg.

Similarly in his downswing, his rear leg leans into his body, with his knee almost pointing towards his target, indicating that the majority of his weight is loaded onto his front leg.

This is quite a difficult technique to get down as it can really affect your swing plane if done incorrectly, which can lead to several swing errors like topping the ball or the shanks.

He does this with both his irons and his driver, although you may find that this technique has specific difficulties with both styles of club.

If you really load the weight on either leg using your driver, so much so that it’s almost a squat, you risk a shank.

The movement can draw your club toward the inside of the ball during your downswing if you’re not careful.

With your irons, you’re more likely to hit a chunked ball if you haven’t got the technique down.

As always, we recommend practicing before you try out a new technique on the course.

However, it’s not just this technique that makes McIlroy’s swing so powerful – it’s this technique in conjunction with the other tricks he has up his sleeve.

A golfer at the peak of his downswing.

the club Whip

If you’re a regular golfer, there’s a strong chance you’ve heard someone refer to a swing as more of a ‘coiling and uncoiling’ motion than a baseball swing using your arms.

One of the things that makes the Rory McIlroy golf swing so great is the way that he uses both a coiling motion and a ‘baseball swing’ motion together.

A good example of what I mean by this is Rory’s hand position at the peak of his backswing.

At the top of his backswing, his hands are behind his shoulders, gripping the club like a baseball.

One of the things that helps Rory get so far back with his swing is his late-wrist set.

Some golfers find the late-set to be helpful in ensuring their lead remains straight throughout the backswing, and can also help with the rotation of the body during the backswing.

So this movement not only brings him into the ‘baseball swing’ position, but also helps him coil up, ready to unleash on the downswing.

As he uncoils, or begins his downswing, he keeps his clubhead still and uses the rotation of his body to square the clubface for a proper connection with the ball.

If you want to try this technique out, it’s important that you create enough lag in your swing, as this will make sure that your clubface meets the ball at the right angle.

You create lag in your swing by making sure that your hands are in front of your clubhead during your downswing. A good way to accomplish this is to begin your body rotation in the swing at the same time as your arms move, while keeping your wrist set strong.

Sounds confusing? Just watch it in action, Rory’s swing is perfect for analysis because he’s such a great and consistent player!

A golf club next to a ball on a tee.

The Draw

While there are plenty of things to admire about Rory’s swing, there’s one specific technique that has made him a favorite of golf commentators and coaches everywhere.

Rory is a big hitter, he’s usually in the top 15 for clubhead and ball speed at any given time.

Most big hitters are more known for hitting a fade, as they can comfortably sacrifice some distance for spin.

While the fade is definitely a technique that is in Rory’s wheelhouse, it’s the way he uses his power to hit fantastic draws that makes him so interesting.

A draw, in comparison to a hook, is when the ball curves around 3-5 yards in the air. A hook is where the ball curves much more and is far less than ideal.

There are a few different things you can do to hit a nice draw, like having a strong grip or closing up your stance, but what Rory does is definitely something to try.

When hitting a draw, Rory has what is call a ‘right side bend’ which he accomplishes with his body.

As he pulls the club down towards the ball in his downswing, his body creates an almost crescent shape with his hips pointing towards his target.

Not only does this create power, as we discussed earlier, but it also helps him hit draws.

Draws can also help you hit longer shots, so if you’re up against a long fairway and you’re not sure you can carry the ball that far, try a draw and watch your ball fly around another 10ft!

A golfer and a golf buggy against the sunset.

Swing thoughts

While most golfers will probably have their own swing thought they use, or they’ll cycle through a number of swing thoughts, Rory’s favourite swing thought might just come in handy for you.

While swing thoughts should be unique to you to help with whatever you’re struggling with, there’s a good reason to try Rory’s.

Rory has said that his favourite swing thought, devised by him and his coach Michael Bannon, is this:

“Keep the club in front of me on the backswing.”

This might not mean a lot you right away, so let’s explain.

If you bring the club too far back on your backswing, the club has longer to travel during the downswing. The longer your downswing, the more likely you are to hit a shot you didn’t mean to hit.

In other words: a shorter backswing can help you play more consistently.

This swing thought can also help you bear in mind that it is your front arm that is leading the swing, like the club is an extension of this arm.

The further your club moves behind your head, the more likely you are to bend that lead arm, which as any golfer will tell you, is a recipe for disaster.

So, that’s our guide to the Rory McIlroy golf swing and how you can bring some of the techniques that he uses into your own game.

As always, don’t expect to implement these techniques and immediately rocket up to the big leagues.

Golf is about incremental improvement. You want to be constantly working on your game, trying things out, and coming up with new ways to play better.

However, if you just want to impress your golf buddies with a swing that looks more like the swing of one of the best golfers of all time, get straight to the driving range and start practicing those long draws.

And remember, always lean on your own golf experience and expertise over someone else’s. You’re not Rory McIlroy, so don’t think you can make the same shots as him!

Keep reading to learn how to play like one of the other greatest golfers of all time, Tiger Woods!

Photo of author
Adam is a writer and lifelong golfer who probably spends more time talking about golf than he does playing it nowadays!

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