Minjee Lee Has Earned More than a Major
By Keith Stewart, PGA
Minjee Lee of Australia plays her tee shot on the eighth hole during the final round of the 77th U.S. Women's Open at Pine Needles Lodge and Golf Club.Getty Images
Minjee Lee gave a historic performance this past weekend winning the 77 th Women’s US Open. Her second stroke play win in a row, Lee is taking her game next level in 2022. In nine events this season, she has a major championship, two wins total, four Top 5’s and seven Top 15 finishes. A year ago, after the US Open, she was ranked 14 th in the Rolex World Rankings. She is now 3rd .
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Minjee Lee: Ball Striking Genius
Jumping eleven places in the world rankings is no small task in one calendar year. What is Lee doing differently to cause such success? With one quick glance at her play on the course or the statistics online, you can easily see Minjee hits the ball further. I walked with her at the Cognizant Founders Cup, and she was routinely hitting the ball past Lexi Thompson.
Lee finished 2021 with an average driving distance of 262.71. That placed her 41st on tour. In 2022, her average distance is now 270.94 and is in the Top 20 for driving distance . The results speak for themselves. Nine yards is a huge gain. PGA Coachers are constantly asked to help players gain distance, so how did she do it?
I believe the change started at home. Minjee’s brother plays on the DP World and PGA Tour and is one of the longest players on tour. He averages over 310 yards off the tee, and he only weighs 165 pounds! If there’s a secret to Minjee’s increase in length, I believe her brother holds the key.
Watch as the two-swing side by side. I see three specific keys that will help all amateurs gain some length like the Lees.
- Take a video or look in the mirror at your backswing. How high are your hands at the top? Chances are if you haven’t reached your distance potential, they are low and near that trail shoulder. Older video of Minjee shows much lower hands in the backswing. Power comes from extension and width. Get those hands higher at the top.
- In transition make sure you push off that back foot. The ground is such an important element to creating speed. Watch both Minjee and Min Woo launch off that trail foot. It is the first move as they swing forward.
a. Try this drill. On the practice range, place a sponge (something soft) under the heel of your trail foot. By the time you get down to impact, your heel should be off that sponge. In doing so, your body will explode through the ball from the ground up.
- On the follow through stretch out that trail arm. Watch as both siblings extend their right arm to the target. Too many times, I see amateurs retract that arm. Fire it through impact like the Lees!
Minjee admits she has worked on her fitness and swing. Min Woo has not only been her inspiration to get longer, but also the reason behind the actual difference. Look at this amazing view of the Women’s US Open Champion and consider the three power keys.
In just two weeks, the ladies of the LPGA will be competing at Congressional Country Club in the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship. With Minjee’s new move, she will be tough to beat. Make these changes in your swing and I bet you’ll be even tougher to beat as well.