For many, Tiger Woods is the G.O.A.T, or the ‘greatest of all time’.
There’s no denying his domination on the course. It’s hard not to be amazed by some of the shots he’s played in his time as a professional golfer.
Many golfers would love to play like Tiger Woods. It’s by no means an easy feat, Woods dedicated his life to the sport and put years and years of practice in to make sure that he would end up on top.
The key to learning how to play like Woods is studying how he plays. The swing is the most important part of golf, and learning how the best do it can definitely be useful in trying to reach their level.
Everyone’s swing is slightly different, so if we want to play like the best, we should dissect how the swings of the best!
So, keep reading as we dissect Tiger Woods’ swing and learn what he does best!
Let’s get started!
The Tiger Woods Swing Dissected – The fundamentals
Let’s start with the basics: how does Tiger Woods grip his clubs?
Tiger has said in interviews previously that it took him quite a while to get his grip strength right, especially with his putting.
Tiger found that using a much lighter and more delicate putting grip strength allowed him to feel the movement of the club more accurately and improve more consistently.
Try this out next time your putting, see how delicately you can grip your putter and track how your putts change.
Keep everything the same about your putting stance except for the grip and really try and feel the swing, you might notice that you’re connecting with the ball to the right of the clubface, or that the angle of contact is too open or closed.
It’s also worth noting that Tiger uses the interlocking grip, where the pinky finger on the hand furthest down the club interlocks between the index and middle fingers of the hand at the butt of the club.
This grip is great for golfers who have smaller hands or a weaker grip.
A weaker grip isn’t for everyone, but if Tiger is choosing to use a weaker grip for accuracy, then it’s definitely worth trying.
Tiger is well known for his textbook setup. If you struggle with your golf stance, it’s worth studying his.
His foot position is, except for when driving, shoulder width apart with the ball in the center of his stance.
He sets up with good flexion in his knees so that the butt of the club points directly at his belt buckle with around 6 inches of distance between his buckle and the club.
He also ensures that his shoulders, legs, and forearms are completely parallel to his target line, this helps with accuracy in aiming.
If you struggle with staying parallel to the target line in your swing, it might be worth paying attention to your spine angle.
Maintaining your spine angle in the golf swing is essential to hitting consistent and straight shots, and is also something that many golfers struggle with.
The Tiger Woods Swing Dissected – The swing
We could write a whole book on Tiger’s swing over the years. He’s used different techniques, or has had to change his swing due to injury, but the consistency of his swing has stayed the same.
We’re going to run through what Tiger generally does rather than analyzing one specific moment, as this should hopefully give you more of an overview of what Tiger does, and how you can replicate it.
As you would expect, Tiger’s backswing is a masterclass.
If you struggle with getting you’re backswing right, pay close attention to his.
If you want to emulate the Tiger Woods swing, there are four main things you must replicate:
- The Club Angle
- The Wrist Set
- The Head Angle
- The Leg Movement
Let’s go over them!
The Club Angle
This applies to the angle of his club relative to his arms as he pulls back from the ball to a position where his arms are parallel to the ball.
What’s most important here is the lack of an angle; his arms are completely straight and in line with his club.
He achieves this by keeping his backswing low and wide. This can also help if you struggle to drive the ball straight!
Your lead arm, or the arm closest to your target, should remain straight throughout your entire swing.
Some golfers, like Tiger, like to use a waggle, or any other pre-shot routine, to take the tension out of their swing before they begin their backswing. This can actually help you keep you arms straight – it gets rid of the need to bend your arm when swinging!
The Wrist Set
The wrist set is something that a lot of beginners struggle with getting right. It feels like a natural movement, but it can also be the undoing of your swing.
The wrist set helps you create lag in your swing, which is where your hands move through the swing before the clubhead.
This is really important for generating power in your swing, which is something that Tiger has no problem with!
However, what makes sets the Tiger Woods swing apart from other golfers’ is the relationship between the club and ball during the backswing.
As Tiger moves through the steps of his backswing, he rotates his chest away from the target, as you should do during your backswing. This alters his swing path slightly, which means that he can use the butt of his club shaft to point down at the ball.
Tiger has what is called a ‘late-set’, which means that he sets his wrist when he reaches straight to the sides with his arms, or when his backswing reaches shoulder height.
Some golfers struggle with the late-set as it can affect their swing plane, so keeping that relationship between the club and the ball can help you remedy that issue.
The Head Angle
The head angle in Tiger’s swing is almost his calling card at this point. Much has already been said about it and the benefits of adopting an altered head angle in the swing, so we’ll just briefly go over the benefits.
Essentially, in your backswing you want your shoulders to tuck underneath your chin. This can help you keep your arms connected to your torso throughout the swing, and is the essential movement for swinging your arms back and across your chest.
However, many golfers keep their head completely rigid during the backswing, as moving it can affect your spine angle or cause you to lose sight of the ball and whiff the ball.
What Tiger does is slightly angle his head so the top of his head is facing slightly more towards his target.
This allows him to pull his arms further back and behind him, which means that he can uncoil more and generate more power in his downswing.
Tiger also has a noticeably slower backswing than downswing, as with most golfers, however the need to take your time more in the backswing becomes very apparent when you consider all of the moving parts.
The Leg Movement
While the term ‘movement’ may be a slight misnomer, there’s no denying that Tiger’s legs do a lot of work in his swing.
Transferring your weight through your legs in your swing is a common issue for golfers, but Tiger makes it look easy.
At the peak of your backswing, you ideally want the majority of your weight loaded up onto your rear leg, and then transferred through to your front leg through the downswing and the follow through.
If you pay close attention to his legs during his backswing, you’ll notice that both of his knees increase in flexion, compared to his starting position.
If you were to stand behind Tiger, facing his target, at the peak of his backswing, you might notice that his front leg will actually appear to come out in front of his rear leg.
This is because of the weight transfer through the backswing. He will then almost squat down in his downswing, driving that weight through his legs in order to generate huge amounts of power in his swing.
This movement is tough to get down, and will take plenty of practice in order to get right.
Tiger’s downswing is also fairly unique to him, but there is still plenty to be learned and replicated with the Tiger Woods swing!
His downswing is fairly sharp and steep, most likely on account of his various back injuries and surgeries he has had over the years.
The problem with a steep downswing is that it doesn’t exactly follow the swing path of the backswing, which can cause common mistakes like topping the ball or hitting a pushed shot.
However, what a steeper downswing does achieve is the need for less rotation , which can be much easier on the back.
If you struggle with back problems, or your swing balance, try a steeper downswing and see if it works for you – but be warned! You need to make sure you have your wrist set down and create enough lag in the swing before you try, otherwise your swing will not be up to snuff.
So, that’s our guide to the Tiger Woods swing!
You’ll notice that the most important facets of his swing are those that are unique to him. This is important to remember, as what works for Tiger may not work for you.
One of the best things about golf is that what really matters is how you play, not how any one else plays, so make sure you know what works for you before you start copying other golfers, or try out their techniques to discover how you can use them to your advantage!