GM Top 25 coach Clive Tucker looks at five keys that make Rory McIlroy one of the game's best drivers of the ball
5 Rory McIlroy Driver Swing Keys You Should Copy
Rory McIlroy is one of the game’s best drivers of the ball.
By breaking his swing down into pivotal positions and calling in Golf Monthly Top 25 Coach Clive Tucker, we’ve highlighted the simple keys any golfer can copy
1 Address position
Long, straight drivers of the ball possess certain characteristics, and Rory definitely has them. Before we start highlighting them, I should mention that even though we are looking at ‘positions’, the goal is to incorporate them into the motion of the swing as a whole. So slow swings while watching yourself in the mirror or on video will confirm your feelings are correct. Then you can add speed once you have a feel for the ‘positions’.
Rory has an athletic, poised set-up position, where his balance is centred and he is well aimed and relaxed. Notice also how his spine is tilted away from the target. This allows for an ease of movement into the backswing and enables him to create those crucial launch conditions Keith Sbarbaro talks about.
2 The takeaway
Typically, great driver swings are consistently wide in ‘shape’ back and through. For the technically minded among you, we are talking about the distance from your sternum to the mid-point of your grip in the backswing. This extension in the takeaway is created without any ‘sway’ off the ball – his weight moves towards his right side naturally as the club moves away from the target. The other key point is the sequencing of Rory’s swing. In this position he has approximately 1/3 shoulder turn and 1/3 swing – essentially the club is working in synchronisation with the rotation of the body. Good sequences in the takeaway really help you create both power and accuracy in the downswing.
3 Top of backswing
Rory is incredibly solid at the top of his backswing; there are no unnecessary movements, which means he is in complete control. He maintains that wide look – his left arm is long and his spine is still tilted away from the target. A good image here is the two-to-one ratio of shoulder to hip rotation. His hips have rotated enough to allow his torso to fully wind up – this is an incredibly powerful position that creates energy for the downswing.
4 Delivering the club
Starting with a good set-up, having a well- sequenced takeaway and loading the shoulders and torso at the top is great, but you still need to deliver the club effectively! Rory does this well, as we can see here. His hips, having shifted left during his transition into the downswing, are providing some superb benefits.
They tilt his spine slightly further away from the target, which helps promote a good inside path by lowering the trailing shoulder (this is something to copy if you’re a slicer). It also encourages an upward attack angle, which makes for high-launch, low-spin drives.
5 Finish position
Not all of us have the flexibility to finish like Rory, but you can have a similar look and hopefully feel. He is incredibly well balanced, and so should you be. A tip here is to try and get the trailing knee, the right one in this case, to finish as near to the left as possible. This brings your balance to the mid-line of your body where it is most comfortable. If the knees stay separated, the balance moves outward and will impede the consistency of the club path. Notice also how his pelvis is fully rotated and facing the target (or even a little left of it), which illustrates that his hips haven’t ‘stalled’ through impact but continued their rotation. This aids shoulder speed and that, in turn, supports the arms, so he can maintain his wide swing for longer. By learning from Rory, you can acquire some sound swing principles that could well deliver outstanding results.
Elliott Heath is our Senior Staff Writer and has been with Golf Monthly since early 2016 after graduating with a degree in Sports Journalism. He manages the Golf Monthly news, features, courses and travel sections as well as our large Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages. Elliott has interviewed some huge names in the golf world including Sergio Garcia, Thomas Bjorn, Bernd Wiesberger and Scotty Cameron as well as a number of professionals on the DP World and PGA Tours. He covered the 2022 Masters from Augusta National as well as four Open Championships on-site including the 150th at St Andrews. He has played 35 of our Top 100 golf courses, with his favourites being both Sunningdales, Woodhall Spa, Old Head and Turnberry. He has been obsessed with the sport since the age of 8 and currently plays at West Byfleet Golf Club in Surrey, where his handicap index floats anywhere between 2-6. His golfing highlights are making albatross on the 9th hole on the Hotchkin Course at Woodhall Spa, shooting an under-par round, playing in the Aramco Team Series on the Ladies European Tour and making his one and only hole-in-one at the age of 15 - a long time ago now!
Elliott is currently playing:
Driver: Titleist TSR4
3 wood: TaylorMade SIM2 Max
Hybrid: TaylorMade SIM Max
Irons: Mizuno MP5 4-PW
Wedges: Cleveland RTX ZipCore 50, 54, 58
Putter: Odyssey White Hot OG #5
Ball: Titleist Pro V1x
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