Why is Xander Schauffele Such a Good Ball Striker?
By Keith Stewart, PGA
Xander Schauffele of the United States plays a shot on the second hole during Day Four of the Genesis Scottish Open at The Renaissance Club on July 10, 2022 in North Berwick, Scotland. Getty Images
Expectations can be a funny thing. Xander Schauffele has carried heavy expectations since the start of his career. With a win today at the Genesis Scottish Open, he now has just as many PGA Tour victories as Jon Rahm. Rahm does have one major championship, but when you start to consider the resume of each who would rather pick heading into next week’s Open Championship?
Before the Travelers Championship a couple weeks ago, Xander had not won on tour in over three years. Now in three weeks, he appears to be unstoppable heading into St. Andrews. From an amateur’s perspective, it must be very difficult to tell the difference between winning Xander and Top 20 Xander.
With a birdie on the first hole today, he was off and running. Watching that swing on social media, we marvel at his efficiency. We also wonder why it took so long for him to get back in that winner’s circle. Golf’s a tough game and if you want to improve your golf swing there’s a major move Schauffele shows us in each swing.
Pause the video and use the scroll to watch his swing in slow motion. Look closely as Schauffele swings the club back. Notice the impressive arm structure he displays in the takeaway. Amateurs, please copy this move. Both arms are meant to work together in balance on every swing. Continue to scroll along the swing and see how they take the club to the top together. Then in transition, they follow the torso around back toward the ball.
Most golfers fail to have their arms work together on the downswing. Schauffele continues down through the ball and those arms continue to be in balance. How can you get your arms to work together? Try this cool demonstration.
Take your normal stance and place your hands on the club crosshanded. This means the lead hand should be lower on the grip than the trail hand. Take a couple of practice swings and feel what happens to your arms. Very quickly you will notice that your trail hand/arm can’t take over the swing; they now work together.
Current US Open Champion Matt Fitzpatrick used to do this drill with his coach Pete Cowen. He loved the feeling so much he chips like this. Getting the arms working together is vital to creating a beautifully balanced move through the ball. The next time you get to the practice range, try this drill.
Bring a pitching wedge and a medium sized towel with you to the range.
Setup to hit a half swing with your pitching wedge.
Take the towel and stretch it across your chest.
Tuck each end of the towel under both of your armpits.
Now hit some 50% pitch shots with your wedge and keep the towel in place.
Don’t lift your arms.
That’s what it feels like to swing like Schauffele. Continue working on the towel drill until you get comfortable turning your torso. Every once and awhile drop the towel and take a normal swing. Incorporate the drill feeling and your contact will be amazing. Get both arms to be balanced by working together throughout your swing and soon you’ll be celebrating just like Xander!