Minjee Lee: Ball Striking Genius
By Brendon Elliott, PGA
Minjee Lee of Australia plays a shot from the fourth fairway during the third round of the 77th U.S. Women's Open at Pine Needles Lodge and Golf Club.Getty Images
Minjee Lee only notched her first win this season two weeks ago at the Cognizant Founders Cup. But what she did this week during her victory at the US Women's Open, in the fashion she did, was absolutely a culmination of superb play all season.
While she has very few weaknesses, her strength is just how incredibly solid she hits her approach shots. She flat out throws darts.
It surely doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know that solid ball striking comes from solid fundamentals. However, as I work with my students and watch other amateur golfers practice, I see countless, recurring deficiencies with their pre-swing and in swing fundamentals.
There are some basics from Minjee that you can copy and adapt to your own game.
As you watch Minjee Lee address the ball, you can observe a classic set up that is common to all great ball strikers. She is very balanced and centered.
Her grip is very neutral which allows her hands to work together, and not against each other, which is something that is critical to being able to have good control of the clubface. Her set up lines are spot on. Her clubface is set squarely to her intended target and her toes, knees, hips, and shoulders are slightly open of being parallel left of her target line.
During the Swing
Minjee has great width as she takes the club back. This concept refers to the distance her hands and arms are in relation to her swing center. A wide arc in your backswing or getting your hands as far away as you can from your center, combined with a narrower arc on the forward swing, helps in gaining clubhead speed and distance. Players like Minjee, that are not very big, can create a lot of speed which equates to good ball contact and distance.
Minjee’s swing is a very smooth and flowing movement. Her sequencing is spot on. The swing sequence by definition is “A particular order in which related events, movements, or things follow each other.” To create a powerful and consistent golf swing you need to get everything moving in the correct order. Minjee does just that. It is a beautiful thing to watch.
Because of her great sequencing and width, as well as other great mechanical components, Minjee creates a great coil as she takes the club back. This concept basically refers to the difference in the rotation between your upper and lower body at the top of the backswing. Your upper body, on the backswing, should rotate as close to 90 degrees from your address position as possible. Your hips should roughly turn about 45 degrees from your address position.
The real key here is having your upper body turn more than your lower body while not being stagnant with your hips in order to achieve this. Your lower body needs to turn to have a powerful and effective golf swing. Minjee coils up magnificently and because her sequencing is so good throughout the swing, including from the top down to impact, she can hit crisp and powerful shots, time after time.
Minjee Lee is a fantastic example of strong pre and in swing fundamentals leading to success on the golf course. Follow her lead and you just may find yourself hitting more crisp shots and shooting lower scores.