Few golfers have been more, or even equally, iconic as Tiger Woods. His charisma and confidence, coupled with his domination on the course, have made him one of the all-time greats of the sport with many arguing that he just might be the greatest of all time.
While Tiger Woods’ swing has changed over the years due to years of not playing in tournaments, his distinct style and technique are still what make him one of the best.
When an athlete is so skillful and impressive in their field, people are quick to assume that playing at that level is just a game of luck and something that you’re born with. But that couldn’t be farther from the truth.
Tiger Woods’ swing is one of the best swings in golf and, while we can’t guarantee that implementing some of these techniques will immediately turn you into a scratch golfer, there is a lot to be learned from the way he plays that you can use to improve your game.
So if you want to impress your golf buddies with a swing like the champ, take a look at these tips below, and see if you can use them to improve your game.
1. Keep it Low and Wide
If you watch Tiger Woods’ swing closely when he drives, you’ll likely notice a number of things right off the bat.
Firstly, Tiger hits hard. Granted, his power with the driver and the distance he was able to hit the ball definitely weakened after his various hiatuses and back surgeries, but if you watch Tiger in his prime, the power he can generate is immense.
One of the ways he achieves this power with the driver is by keeping his takeaway low and wide.
Like any good shot with a driver, his position is forward in the stance with the tee closer to his front leg than his trailing leg, and his spine is slightly angled away from the ball. It’s this spine angle that really helps him keep that takeaway low and wide.
By angling your torso slightly away from the ball, you’re able to increase the distance of your takeaway so that when you swing there’s more distance to cover so that you can build up speed and power.
2. Head Rotation
Like any golfer, you might have a problem keeping your eye on the ball when driving. Many assume that the way to fix this is to keep your head perfectly still when taking your swing. This can actually inhibit your swing flexibility and could lead to injuries down the line.
If you watch Tiger from a face-on position, you’ll see that as he pulls his arms back on the takeaway, his head slightly rotates in the same direction as his arms.
This rotation allows Tiger to comfortably pull his arms further back and wind up in a stronger position without straining the muscles in his back.
Try driving while keeping your head completely straight and see how far you can pull your arms back. Then try again using Tiger’s head rotation. You’ll be surprised just how much a small change can affect your swing.
3. Drive Through the Legs
As golf is a sport played predominantly with the upper body, we golfers tend to overlook how useful engaging your legs in a drive can be. Tiger Woods, however, knows just how important they are for a great swing, and just how to use them.
With Tiger Woods’ swing, as he pulls back on his takeaway, you can see that he shifts his weight more onto his trail leg. As he begins his swing from the top of his backswing, he almost squats down into a lower stance and drives up through his legs into a taller position as he connects with the ball.
Getting the timing right on this movement can be really tricky. Remember: Tiger isn’t moving into a full squat – it’s more of a dip.
What this movement allows Tiger to do is both generate more power in his swing and make sure that his club face is swinging up through the ball.
This movement is also great for anyone having trouble with getting a good amount of lift on the ball when driving.
By swinging through the ball in a lower position, coupled with the low and wide swing takeaway, the club face swings up through the ball in motion that rockets it into the air, rather than skimming along the fairway.
4. Stand Up Straight
This tip is especially useful for anyone that suffers with any back problems or feels any twinges during a swing.
Tiger famously took a number of years out of professional golf due to needing a number of back surgeries. Since then, he noticeably stands up completely straight after taking a swing.
By standing up straight, as opposed to leaning back to watch the ball fly through the air, some of the strain of the swing is taken off of his back and that force is redirected through his legs.
If you similarly feel that strain on your back when taking a swing, this could be a great way to bolster your longevity with the sport.
However, what you don’t want to do is rocket into a completely upright position as soon as you have swung through the ball. That’s just going to create more strain and tension in the muscles in your upper body.
One of the great things about Tiger Woods’ Swing and his use of this movement is that it is a completely natural and relaxed posture. This movement might take some time to get used to as many golfers tend to lean back after a swing both from the momentum of the swing and as a way to get a better view of the ball.
5. The Waggle
While he might not do it with every shot, if you watch Tiger Woods’ swing when he is using an iron, he’s using the waggle.
The Golf waggle is a technique used by many to loosen up and keep the tempo of a swing with a short practice lift of the club before taking the actual shot.
The waggle is a great characteristic of a consistent pre-shot routine that keeps your mind and body in sync before taking that shot that really counts. It’s also a great way to prevent the dreaded yips.
6. How to Putt Under Pressure
Like many golfers, especially at his level, Tiger is no stranger to the game-saving putt.
Watching Tiger make a seemingly impossible putt is just one of the many things that makes him such an entertaining golfer. But it’s not just the spectacle that makes him so impressive, it’s his technique with the putter.
Tiger keeps a slight bend in both of his elbows when he putts and has spoken before about keeping a low grip pressure on the green, calling it a ‘5 or a 6’ on a scale of 1-10.
Since putting is all about precision, it might seem counterintuitive to have a putting stance and grip that might seem loose, so why does it work so well for Tiger?
Tiger says that it was advice from another putting legend, Ben Crenshaw, that clued him into how to make a great putt with less grip tension.
The idea is that when you grip the putter with less force, you can feel the motion of the club more fully than you could otherwise. This creates more intuition with the club, feeling how it moves and using its weight to your advantage.
It also allows you to be a bit more technical with your putting. A lot of golfers will tell you that to putt well, you have to move your arms and the club in motion like a pendulum. While this advice is great, it can lead to some golfers putting too much pressure through their grip and holding too much tension in their shoulders.
By holding the putter with a looser grip, it’s the club itself that moves more like a pendulum, rather than your upper body.
So by relieving some of the tension in your body when making a putt, you can also relieve some of the pressure on you to make that putt.
Confidence is key in golf. If you watch any Pro step up to the tee, while the pressure might be on, they know exactly what they have to do and how to do it. Tiger Woods’ swing is perhaps one of the most visibly confident swings in golf, and that shows in his scores.
The return of Tiger Woods’ swing and his comeback to professional golf was marked most importantly by the return of his attitude. Granted, he may have slipped far back down the ranks recently due to lack of play, but his various returns to professional golf were only possible with the confidence that he could win.
One of the best changes you can make to your golf game is stepping up to the tee and knowing you can do what you need to. A good head between your shoulders is still the best equipment on the course.
So while implementing these tips into your sgame might not immediately give you Tiger Woods’ swing, they are still great new techniques to implement into your game.
So try some of these tips out next time you’re on the course. Even if you’re happy with how you’re currently playing, just remember this quote from the man himself: ‘No matter how good you get you can always get better, and that’s the exciting part.’
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