Where Does Billy Horschel's Consistency Come From?
By Keith Stewart, PGA
Billy Horschel of the United States looks over a putt on the 14th green during the final round of the Memorial Tournament presented by Workday at Muirfield Village Golf Club.Getty Images
The Memorial Tournament wrapped up yesterday with two great ball striking performances on a tough Sunday finish at Muirfield Village Golf Club. Billy Horschel bested the field with some superior swinging, but Aaron Wise wasn’t far back. When I watch these two professionals go about their business on the course, I’m never surprised how consistently they strike the golf ball.
The common denominator between these two swings is something all amateurs should try to emulate. It will bring better contact into all elements of your game if you do. The simple key: both Billy and Aaron swing their arms together.
The first swing in the video may startle you. They club does go flying, but that has more to do with Billy’s personality than the swing itself. He did hit the middle of the fairway. The second shot with a fairway wood was equally as accurate. Horschel does an amazing job of keeping his arm swing in balance. One arm never overpowers the other.
Look at the swing(s) again. Pause it and scroll the video so you can really see the arms. It starts in his takeaway, then into the transition, through impact and into the follow through.
The lead and trail arm are always moving together. As a PGA Coach, I love to back up a swing fundamental with a solid drill. Something practical to help you feel the point of this discussion.
As you can see, second place finisher Aaron Wise already has us covered. There are a couple different ways to work on this feeling. He has a training tool by Coach George Gankas. You can also use a Smart Ball by PGA Coach Martin Chuck, or you can go to the dollar store and get an adjustable lanyard and a tennis ball. If you go the latter route, you just need to connect the two, so the tennis ball can hang around your neck.
To me, one of the first two aids are worth it because having this feeling in your swing will undoubtedly make you play better. In Wise’s video, I want you to focus on his point about the arms staying together.
Once you do have one of those training aids, let’s hit the practice range. Following your warmup, place the aid in between your arms. Take out a pitching wedge to begin building this feeling.
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Start by making some half swings, feel the arms staying “together” and holding the aid in place. By having both arms in balance, the bottom of your arc will become much more reliable.
Need some evidence? Horschel hit 74% of his fairways and 73% of his greens in regulation. Wise nearly matched him by hitting his fairways and greens approximately 65% of the time.
Once you can clip the ball reliably with that pitching wedge motion, let’s graduate to an eight-iron. Increase the drill to a three-quarter swing. Make sure you can still feel the arms working together and hold the aid in place. Pay attention to that feeling, it is pure gold when it comes to creating awesome impact.
Very quickly you will notice how this movement increases your body turn. Allow your shoulders to work with the arms. Turn your torso to ensure the arms are swinging freely.
The beauty of this fundamental cornerstone is how effective it is aiding all types of shots. From bunker shots to bombing it off the tee, swing those arms in better balance and watch the wins rack up like Billy Ho has.