Action like Anna Nordqvist Could be the Key to Improving Your Game
By Keith Stewart, PGA
Anna Nordqvist of Sweden plays her tee shot at the 16th hole during Day Three of the AIG Women's Open at Carnoustie Golf Links on August 21, 2021 in Carnoustie, Scotland. (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)
Anna Nordqvist is now a three-time major champion after his impressive win at the AIG Women's Open. Down the stretch she controlled her nerves and performed better than her competitors. One of the reasons Anna was able to strike the ball so consistently under pressure was her tremendous turn.
At six feet tall, Nordqvist has every opportunity to sway like the rest of us, but she doesn’t. By turning throughout her backswing, she sets herself up for a wonderful transition move, downswing and follow-through. When watching Anna on slow motion video, PGA Coaches all marvel at her extension through the ball. Each action in the golf swing creates a reaction. So many times, we look at the result and try to fix it.
You must make changes by fixing the movement in the backswing to create a new resulting reaction in the downswing and follow through.
Based on the action-reaction relationship, what action in the backswing will create better extension through the ball?
Look at Nordqvist’s width in her takeaway and backswing. That wide arc sets her up for a very wide follow-through. There are a couple different ways we can learn to widen our takeaway, but you must be careful. Many players will just reach away from the target. This results in a sway and no turn. To turn like Anna, try this drill.
Get to the practice range and warm up. Once you are loose select a 6, 7 or 8 iron. Take your normal setup and hit a couple shots. Try to really turn and widen that backswing. Make a mental note of what it feels like. Also pay attention to the shape, strike, and length of the shots.
With the same club, setup again. This time separate your hands on the club. Get all ten fingers on the grip. There should be an inch gap between your two hands. Now swing the club away to the top of your backswing. You can’t get there. Your backswing has become shorter. That’s because your arms are better connected to your turn by separating your hands.
Make a couple of deliberate rehearsals feeling the stretch across your back and the torque in your body. That’s Anna’s killer move. At six feet tall she has every opportunity to sway and get “armsy” in her swing. Unlike us, she doesn’t and winds up like you feel in this drill. Keep practicing.
Notice the extension this separated grip gives you on the follow-through side of your swing. Once you feel confident in the motion, hit a ball. The strike will feel solid because your turning body will keep the club super stable through impact. Keep hitting a couple of shots.
Now return to your regular grip. Draw back on the feelings of the drill and hit the ball. Notice anything different?
Shorter, wider backswing
Bigger turn away from the ball
Better compression at impact
Effortless extension through the ball
Longer, straighter shots
You don’t have to be six feet tall or a three-time major champion to benefit from Nordqvist’s nifty move. Just start with a tangible feeling of how to create powerful turning action and the reaction will be better than you could imagine.