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Golf Monthly Top 25 Coach Barney Puttick offers his view on this Ernie Els Swing Sequence.
Although he arrived on tour more than 20 years ago, the Ernie Els swing sequence remains one of the great swings in world golf. It strikes a supreme balance between being powerful, rhythmic and full of poise. Of course, when you break it down, as we’ve done here, and look at the finer details, there’s much to admire and copy.
Firstly, notice at address the lack of tension in Ernie’s arms. This is most visible on the slow-motion video that accompanies this piece. Sam Snead famously once said that you should grip the club as if you were holding a small bird. Els, despite his size and the power he generates, remains incredible supple and soft with his grip pressure. This lies at the heart of his trademark rhythm. It allows him to take the club back on a great line, and there’s a relatively early wrist hinge.
By the time his left arm is parallel to the ground, the club is pointing straight up. During this move his chest remains fairly passive, but once the club is set on plane, then his upper-body rotation starts in earnest.
One thing to notice as he reaches the top is how his lower body starts to shift his weight back towards the target as the club completes the backswing. This move increases the torque between his upper and lower body, adding to the power he’s able to generate through impact. Ernie Els embodies the ‘swing easy, hit hard’ mantra and, for me, this comes from the way he retains the angle in his wrists until the last second. As this angle is released, he drives through impact, rotating around a firm left side – a textbook move.
Finally, for any taller players reading this, take note of the way he retains his posture from address through impact. There’s no dipping or lifting, but a simple rotation and weight shift back and through. It’s the simplicity of the Ernie Els swing sequence, combined with his wonderful natural rhythm, that makes this one of the all-time greats
In his current role, Neil is responsible for testing drivers and golf balls. Having been a part of the Golf Monthly team for over 15 years and playing off a handicap of 3, he has the experience to compare performance between models, brands and generations. For 2022 he thinks the main trend in drivers is: "In a word, consistency. Whilst all the brands are talking about ball speed (and the new drivers are certainly long), my biggest finding has been how much more consistent the ball flights are. Mishits don't seem to be causing the same level of drop-off or increase in the spin numbers. This means that more shots seem to be flying the way you want them to!" As far as golf balls are concerned the biggest development is in the, "three piece, non-Tour, urethane-covered section. For regular golfers, these models offer superb performance at both ends of the bag without denting your wallet quite as much as the premium Tour-played options."
Originally working with the best coaches in the UK to produce instruction content, he is now the brand's Digital Editor and covers everything from Tour player interviews to gear reviews. In his time at Golf Monthly, he has covered equipment launches that date back well over a decade. He clearly remembers the launch of the Callaway and Nike square drivers as well as the white TaylorMade driver families, such as the RocketBallz! If you take a look at the Golf Monthly YouTube channel, you'll see his equipment videos dating back over a decade! He has also conducted 'What's In The Bag' interviews with many of the game's best players like Rory McIlroy, Dustin Johnson and Jon Rahm. Over the years, Neil has tested a vast array of products in each category and at drastically different price-points.
Neil is currently playing: Driver: TaylorMade Stealth Plus Fairway Wood: Titleist TSi2 Hybrid: Titleist TS3 Irons (4-9): Mizuno JPX 919 Forged Wedges: Titleist Vokey SM7 46˚, 50˚, 54˚, 60˚ Putter: Odyssey Triple Track Ten Ball: Titleist Pro V1X
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