IT’S not often you hear a top pro say he’s imitating another player’s swing. But Brandt Snedeker, at 35, is so self-assured and forthcoming he says he’s trying to let his head turn up through impact “just like Henrik Stenson and Annika Sorenstam.” He has been working on the move for more than a year, and his driving distance has
exploded. He’s averaging six metres longer than he did last year, nine more than 2014.
But without trying, Snedeker bears a resemblance to one of his idols, Tom Watson. Not only does Snedeker look like a young Watson, the Nashville native also plays fast. Particularly on putts: he doesn’t practise stroke. ‘Sneds’ takes one look, and boom. And like Watson, Snedeker is a finisher. Take his final-round 69 in horrible conditions to win at Torrey Pines this year. Snedeker’s teacher, Butch Harmon, likes what he sees below. “We’ve worked hard, especially on his move through the ball,” Harmon says. “Brandt used to hold his head back, which would sometimes cause his body to slow and his hands to flip over. That’s a hook. Now he can go at it hard without worrying about hitting it left.” That’s an enviable feeling for any golfer.
Butch Harmon says his student Brandt Snedeker used to play the ball too far forward, which put his right arm too high. “It restricted his ability to swing back,” Harmon says. “Now the ball is back a little, hands forward. That relaxes his right elbow, so it can fold.”
On the takeaway, Snedeker’s right thumb comes off the grip. “He doesn’t try to do that, but it doesn’t hurt anything,” Harmon says. “It’s back on the club in the next frame. It shows me he has a relaxed grip.” Harmon says it’s not something for golfers to copy, but it’s OK for Snedeker.
NO RUNAWAY CLUB
See by the brim of Snedeker’s hat how his head swivels. That frees his upper body to turn. “I love how coiled he gets, and how he keeps the flex in his right leg,” Harmon says. “He makes a big turn, but the club doesn’t run away from him.”
Harmon says he likes how Snedeker keeps his hands away from his head at the top. “A lot of golfers collapse the arms, and the hands drop toward the head, so they lose power.”
Also note that Snedeker increases his wrist hinge coming down – a classic power booster.
Through impact, you can see his head release with the ball. “He gets his weight over to the left again, maintains that lag, then lets everything go,” Harmon says. “I love the look of his right foot at impact – the heel is leading the toe as he pushes forward. He’s moving through it with his entire right side.”
GETTING OVER IT
Check out where Snedeker’s weight is at the finish: all the way in the left heel. “There’s no pressure in the toe of the right foot,” Harmon says. “His right shoulder is closer to the target than his left, and his belt buckle is pointing straight out, which means he’s fully through the shot.”
35 / 6-1 / 84 kilograms
Driver Bridgestone JGR 9.5 degrees
Ball Bridgestone Tour B330