Exclusive Interview: Rory McIlroy's Coach

Michael Bannon, Rory McIlroy's Coach offers some candid insights into the work he has done with the Northern Irishman over the years.

Exclusive Interview: Rory McIlroy's Coach

Michael Bannon, Rory McIlroy's Coach offers some candid insights into the work he has done with the Northern Irishman over the years.

Exclusive Interview: Rory McIlroy's Coach

Rory McIlroy's Coach, Michael Bannon, has been with him from the age of 8. Here he offers some advice based on the cornerstones of Rory's own incredible technique that has helped him secure his spot in the 2018 Ryder Cup side.

Point your buckle at the ball A sloppy setup leads to a sloppy swing. The best thing Rory McIlory did to improve his address position was to increase his hip tilt. Try this: Get into your setup with your hands on your hips and your knees flexed. Use your fingers to push your hips back. Your rear end should “pop” out a bit, creating a crease in your trousers just below your belt. You’re doing it correctly if your belt buckle points just beyond the ball, not straight out in front of you. The right amount of hip hinge stabilizes your turn for a tighter coil during your backswing.

Rory McIlroy Golf Swing Analysis

Pull-Back Drill Get into your address position without a club, then crisscross your arms, left over right, so your palms face away from each other . Start your swing by pulling your right hand straight back. See how this forces your left shoulder to turn, and how connected your arms feel to your upper body? If you notice the same feeling when you take real swings, you’ll make a perfect takeaway.

Rory McIlroy Practice Tips

Turn, Turn, Turn We always work on limiting Rory’s turn, but you should work on rotating more— and not just your shoulders. The next time you practice, turn your lower body more than you normally would. Try to get your belt buckle to point away from the target when your reach the top. This extra hip turn is what allows your shoulders to rotate a full 90 degrees. The only rules? Keep your right knee flexed and your hands on the right side of your head. If your hands end up behind your head, you’ve lost control.

Watch more golf swing tips

Lift and Step To feel the way Rory leans into his irons, make your regular backswing but allow your left heel to come off the ground as you reach the top. When you start back down, replant your left heel. Do it hard—so hard that you feel your weight move immediately to your left side. Once you plant, push off the ground with your left foot, firming up your left leg. This creates a post strong enough to support a strong turn through the ball.

Who Is Rory McIlroy's Coach?

Michael Bannon has been McIlroy's coach since the player was eight years old.

He has helped McIlroy secure four Majors and won European Coach of the year in 2011.

He has been the club professional at Hollywood Golf Club and Bangor Golf Club, which he left in october 2012 to coach Rory full-time.

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Neil Tappin
Digital Editor

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