The Right Sequence Leads to a Hideki Matsuyama Win at The Masters
By Keith Stewart, PGA
As the week of the 85th Masters began, each expert told us our winner would be a combination of a fantastic iron player and possess an accomplished short game. Well, our Champion Hideki is Top 30 on the PGA Tour in both Strokes Gained Approach to the Green and Around the Green.
Believe it or not, there is one characteristic that creates consistency in both attributes of your game. Whether it is that size 30 waist of Zalatoris or that athletic frame of Matsuyama, their midsections move swiftly and powerfully. Swing after swing we witnessed this past weekend at Augusta National these two men stayed committed to turning right from the start of their transition.
For so many of us, this is an elusive move. Many times, we watch golf on television or we see the men and women on tour and we’re distracted by the swinging club. Start watching that middle body motion. Notice when it begins, how they move and where they finish. For this example, let’s concentrate on the Masters Champion and Matsuyama’s midsection magic.
Training aids can really depict a valuable visual when it comes to learning some of the dynamic movements in the golf swing. For this drill, grab two alignment rods. You can perform this drill right in your home. We know you just spent five hours on the couch watching golf so getting up will be a nice change of pace! Take one alignment rod and hold it against your waistline. If you’re wearing shorts or pants with belt loops, that’s really helpful. Take the rod and slide it through the loopholes on either side of the middle clasp or button.
Once the first rod is in place, take the second rod and hold it against your shoulders. The two sticks should be parallel to one another. Get in your address position as if you’re ready to hit a golf ball. Turn away and complete your backswing. Both sticks will have rotated away from the ball. The shoulder stick will have turned far more than the waist stick. Here’s the drill, start your transition by turning the waist stick back toward impact and through toward your finish. The bottom stick must move first. For many of you, there will be an instinctual urge to move the top one first.
Fight that urge and turn the lower stick. Go back to the top of your backswing again, and when you start your transition, move the bottom one first again. Yes, we are repeating this motion as our drill. Reset again at the top, and turn the midsection first. Watch the bottom stick turn and move and then the top stick. If you can perform this drill in front of a large mirror, that can be even more helpful. This is a very important sequence and one Hideki does with tremendous talent.
Cementing this sequence in your swing will take a little time. Practice this drill away from the course at home every day for 10 to 20 minutes. When you practice at the range hitting balls, repeat the motion to the best of your ability. If it is a struggle at first, make some half swings where you start with the club held halfway back. From that stop motion position, fire that middle and let the swing follow hitting the ball.
Looking back at the tournament, the best swings by each of the competitors follow this sequence. Watch their middle body rotate through the shot.
Making this Matsuyama move a priority will significantly improve your consistency on the course. It may not get you to Kiawah in 38 days, but it certainly will have an amazing impact on your ball striking.